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Hypothermia cause of 6-year-old's death, name still withheld

BEMIDJI -- The cause of death has been determined for a 6-year-old Bemidji girl found Thursday morning.

The girl died of hypothermia due to exposure to frigid conditions, according to the provisional report issued Friday by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office in St. Paul.

Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin told the Pioneer the family has requested the girl’s name not be released at this time. Mastin said he expected the investigation to run into late next week.

The girl was a first-grade student enrolled at Horace May Elementary School. Grief counseling was available to students Friday at the school. Jim Hess, superintendent of Bemidji Area Schools, said a memorial will likely be planned at a later date.

The girl’s body was found after Beltrami County dispatch received two calls at 6:23 a.m. Thursday, one from the victim's mother and the other from a neighbor.

Bemidji Police, along with Bemidji Ambulance, Bemidji Fire and the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the call at the Washington Avenue Apartments on Carter Circle in southeast Bemidji.

When officers and emergency medical personnel arrived, they found the 6-year-old girl inside the front entrance to the apartment building. Police said she was wearing a jacket, boots, hat and mittens.She had signs of being exposed to the frigid elements and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Overnight and early morning temperatures Thursday were in the 25-below range with wind chills of 40 below and colder.

The case remains under investigation while Bemidji Police detectives continue to collect information, officials said Friday. If anyone has any information relating to the case they are asked to contact the police at (218) 333-9111.


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