Bemidji Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Cousin’s Freezing Death
A Bemidji woman is headed to trial on charges she allowed her 6-year-old cousin to freeze to death outside an apartment building last year.
Rachel Downer, now 23, was temporarily declared mentally incompetent to stand trial last year.
Minnesota Public Radio News reports on Monday Downer returned to court and pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.
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.
Downer’s trial will be scheduled at a hearing Aug. 18 in Beltrami County Court.