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Woman charged in hypothermia death appears in court

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Rachel Downer, 22, of Bemidji, facing charges in her 6-year-old cousin’s death, made her first court appearance in Beltrami County Court on Monday.

Downer has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after Mercedes Mayfield was discovered dead from hypothermia outside a south Bemidji apartment complex the morning of Feb. 27 after a night of sub-zero temperatures. Mercedes was in the care of Downer the night before at the apartment Mercedes shared with her mother and siblings.

Monday’s hearing was Downer’s initial appearance and Beltrami District Judge Shari Schluchter set an omnibus hearing in the case for April 14.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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