Woman faces trial in girl's freezing death

More than a year after allegedly letting her 6-year-old cousin freeze to death outside a Bemidji apartment building, Rachel Downer is headed to trial on manslaughter charges.

Downer, now 23, was temporarily declared mentally incompetent to stand trial last year. Monday she returned to court and pleaded not guilty.

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.

Mercedes Mayfield was found dead the next morning. The wind chill that night was minus 25 degrees.

Downer's trial will be scheduled at a hearing Aug. 18 in Beltrami County Court.

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