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Mother Plans to Leave Child Outside in Cold Weather Overnight

Mother Plans to Leave Child Outside in Cold Weather Overnight
Debbie Banning, in conversation with local media who bothered to show up for complimentary pancakes

MARYSTOWN, NEWFOUNDLAND: Newfoundland homemaker Debbie Banning is making plans to leave her five year old daughter Justina out in "the freezing cold night" sometime before the end of winter.

Citing the publicity and fame that have been showered upon Baby Erica, the 13 month old Edmonton child who miraculously survived a night in -25 degree weather recently, Ms. Banning said that she could "really use the scratch" that would inevitably come with her own feel good frozen baby story.

"The real nice man from Hill and Knowlton (a global public relations company) was by this afternoon, and they'se gonna take care of all the media stuff. He tells me that exclusive interviews could fetch me at least $5,000."

Ms. Banning, whose husband Donnie was working at his job at the local boot factory during the media event, insisted that she realizes the potential of catastrophe with such an initiative, but she assured those in attendance in the Banning living room that her daughter will survive the ordeal. "We're leavin' no stone unturned, there's gonna be a doctor on call, who's only a 25 minute drive away should anything go wrong."

But she was confident that her daughter will survive the incident without a hitch:

"Look, it's not like I'm just gonna lock her out of the house without preparing her first. Last week, I sent her to school without a hat and mitts. Next week, she won't be wearing a coat, so she can get a real taste for the cold." Ms. Banning added that Justina also has "plenty of baby fat to keep her warm."

Greg Champion, representing Hill and Knowlton, told reporters in attendance that for the purposes of "momentum," it is of critical importance that the event take place some time before the end of the current winter. "It's too mild for our liking right now. Realistically, there are probably few truly bone chilling nights remaining in the winter of 2001 in Newfoundland, so we have to be prepared." He was optimistic, however, about a forecasted cold front expected to hit the province within the next 72 hours.

Although her plan has been quickly denounced by many as a gross example of the sleaziest form of opportunism, not to mention child abuse, Ms. Banning downplayed portrayals of her as some type of monster.

"I love my baby. I don't think there'll be anything to worry about. I'll be standing in the window so Justina will be able to see me, unless I start to get real tired and I have to lie down for a while, but Donnie's trying to get out of the night shift at work so he can take over. Plus, there'll be all sorts of media people around, so they'll be able to keep her company and talk to her…… long as they don't let her in the house and ruin everything."

Ms. Banning also reiterated that little Justina realizes that she'll be doing this for the betterment of her family, while conceding that she did promise to take her to McDonald's if she survives.

Justina herself was unavailable as Ms. Banning said she was "out somewhere playin'."

Posted on May 25th, 2001



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