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Cousin Arrested In Exposure Death Of Bemidji 6-Year-Old

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Police in Bemidji have arrested the cousin of the 6-year-old girl who died after being exposed to subzero cold late last month.

Officers arrested 22-year-old Rachel Downer in connection to the exposure death of Mercedes Mayfield on Feb. 27, the Bemidji Police Department says.

Downer was booked on manslaughter and felony child neglect charges.

The 6-year-old’s mother found the girl outside the Washington Ave. Apartments just before 6:30 a.m., when temperatures were down to negative 20 and the wind chill was 40 below.

When authorities saw the girl, they say she was inside an apartment entrance, clothed in gloves, a coat and a hat. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials have yet to say how exactly the girl ended up in the cold.

However, police say they’ve been “working tirelessly” to establish the details and the timeline of the girl’s death.

Bemidji is about 215 miles north of Minneapolis.

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