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Crystal Dey, Forum News Service, Published March 05 2014

Bemidji police still looking into 6-year-old girl's death

BEMIDJI – The investigation into a 6-year-old Bemidji girl’s death may stretch into next week. Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin said Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing and could wrap up Monday.

“I’m thinking about that 6-year-old girl,” Mastin said. “I’m not going to hinder an investigation by releasing information before the case is closed.”

Once the investigation is completed, the child’s name will be released; it has been withheld at the family’s request. Originally, the investigation was expected to conclude this week.

Provisional medical reports by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office in St. Paul indicate the girl died of hypothermia due to exposure to frigid conditions when she was found Feb. 27. Mastin said the police department is still awaiting the formal report.

Overnight and early morning temperatures in Bemidji on Feb. 27 were in the 25-below range with wind chills of 40 below and colder.

Bemidji police, along with Bemidji Ambulance, Bemidji Fire and the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, responded to two emergency calls from the Washington Avenue Apartments in southeast Bemidji at about 6:30 a.m. Feb. 27.

When officers and emergency medical personnel arrived, they found the girl inside the front entrance to the apartment building. Police reported 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, officials said.