Woman sentenced in malnutrition death of daughter, 4, who was fed Mountain Dew in bottle

Tamara Banks

BATAVIA, Ohio — An Ohio woman was sentenced to nine years to 13 1/2 years in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to her 4-year-old daughter’s death.

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Tamara Banks, 41, of Clermont County, was sentenced after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, WXIX-TV reported.

According to Clermont County prosecutors, Banks’ daughter died on Jan. 24, 2022, because she was denied proper nutrition and medical care, according to the television station. That included bottle feeding the child Mountain Dew mixed with baby formula until the girl’s teeth became rotted, prosecutors said.

Banks and the child’s father, Christopher Hoeb, 53, were indicted in 2023 on charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering children. Hoeb, also charged in the child’s death, will be sentenced on June 11.

“This is one of the most tragic cases I have ever encountered,” Clermont County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Clay Tharp said.

Karmity Hoeb died at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on Jan. 25, 2022, according to the coroner’s office.

Banks was convicted after the Clermont County coroner determined that her daughter’s death was caused by diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening compilation of diabetes, WCPO-TV reported. Prosecutors said the girl had diabetes “that was left undiagnosed and untreated over a long period of time.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetic ketoacidosis develops when the body is unable to produce enough insulin.

“Diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, is an extreme complication of untreated diabetes,” Chris Peltier, president of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told WCPO.

Peltier said the condition is not necessarily rare among children, but added if the condition was left untreated, a person can slip into a coma and even die.

“Eventually, the body will just shut down,” Peltier told the television station.

According to the original indictment, reported by the Clermont Sun, Banks and Hoeb found the child unresponsive on Jan. 21, 2022. They called 911 and the girl was taken to an area hospital, where she was revived. Doctors determined that the girl was brain-dead and was taken off life support. She was taken off life support on Jan. 24 and died the next day.

Prosecutors also claimed that Banks and Hoeb bottle-fed their daughter with baby formula mixed with Mountain Dew, WCPO reported. When the girl died, she had almost no teeth left in her mouth because they had become rotten and fell out, according to the television station.

Banks’ oldest son, Jerry Banks, told WXIX about his younger brother’s condition, which occurred in 2011.

“One day, he just went lethargic and wouldn’t move and the only thing he would respond to was sugar and for 36 hours, she (Tamara Banks) passed out in the back room,” Jerry Banks told the television station in a March 19 interview. “I had to wake her up and force her to take him to the hospital and that’s when he was found to be in DKA; The same thing that happened to (Kamity). The doctors just so happened to catch it in time to save him.”

Clermont County Common Pleas Judge Victor Haddad said Banks should have known about the dangers of her daughter’s diabetic condition, because she had an older son who suffered from the same condition and fell into a coma when he was 4.

“It’s hard to be a good parent but you expect at least mediocre parents, everybody should expect that,” Haddad said during Friday’s hearing. “Not knowing what to do is not an excuse.”

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