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Bemidji man pleads guilty in death of foster child found bruised, lacerated

Nathan Daniel Jackson Sr.

BEMIDJI, Minn. — A Bemidji man whose foster daughter drowned in a shower pleaded guilty Friday, Jan. 20, to one count of second-degree manslaughter—culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk.

While testifying, Nathan Daniel Jackson, 39, said he had used methamphetamine at 4 a.m. the day of 2-year-old Kira Friedman's death, and that he did not know when he had last slept.

Friedman was found dead at about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 5, at the home Jackson shared with his children and his then-fiance on Lake Avenue Southeast. Jackson said that throughout the evening of Saturday, June 4, to the early morning hours of that Sunday he had consumed about half a gram of methamphetamine.

According to Jackson's testimony he had been up all night doing laundry and was about to go to sleep when he heard Friedman "whining." Jackson went to check on her, he said, and noticed that she smelled as if she had soiled her diaper.

Jackson undressed Friedman and put her in the shower. Once he had finished cleaning her he left her in the shower with the water running and got more clothes to wash. Jackson said he noticed that the tote used to hold the laundry was dirty and put it in the still-running shower along with Friedman to clean it.

Jackson left the child and the laundry bin—an 18-gallon Rubbermaid tote without holes—in the shower with the water running for about 15 minutes while he went upstairs to clean his dentures and make toast. He grabbed more clothes and brought them downstairs to the bathroom, he said, but did not check on Friedman until he had brought even more clothes back upstairs.

When Jackson did check on Friedman, after a total of about 20 minutes, she was fully submerged in the laundry tote, which was filled with water. Jackson said he took the child out of the tote and that when he did he fell backward and she fell forward.

He then put her to bed. According to a criminal complaint against Jackson, Friedman was found dead by another of his children, who alerted his then-fiance. When investigators searched the home they observed bruising and lacerations of the child as well as a red substance on the bathroom wall presumed to be blood.

During questioning by his attorney Jackson agreed that his actions, including using methamphetamine, not sleeping and leaving the child unattended, resulted in her death.

Jackson is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on Friday, Feb. 24.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or

(218) 333-9796