Bemidji Woman Gets Probation in Cousin’s Freezing Death
BEMIDJI (AP) - A 23-year-old Bemidji woman has been sentenced to probation for the freezing death of her 6-year-old cousin.
Rachel Downer was sentenced this week to 10 years of probation.
Downer pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in August. She was found incompetent to stand trial last year, but that decision was reversed this year.
Downer was babysitting her cousin, Mercedes Mayfield, the night of Feb. 26, 2014. According to court documents, she decided to go home, but didn't tell the girl's mother.
The girl helped Downer load her car, but couldn't get back into the apartment when Downer left. The girl was found curled up on the front step of the building the next morning.
Temperatures had fallen to the 20-below-zero range that night. The girl died of hypothermia.