A mother fed her diabetic daughter a diet of Mountain Dew and formula. Now she’s going to prison for her death

Tamara Banks, 41, was sentenced to at least nine years after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter

Michelle Del Rey
Monday 27 May 2024 19:16
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The mother of a severely malnourished 4-year-old child who died after being fed a diet of mostly Mountain Dew and formula was sentenced to at least nine years in prison in Ohio on Friday.

Prosecutors said Tamara Banks, 41, neglected her daughter, Karmity Hoeb, for most of her life, bottle feeding her soda until until her teeth rotted. The little girl ultimately died from diabetic ketoacidosis — a life-threatening complication stemming from Type 1 diabetes.

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

Banks pleaded guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge in March, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Both Banks and the child’s father, Christopher Hoeb, 53, were indicted on charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering children last summer.

Tamara Banks, 41, has been sentenced to at least nine years in jail in connection with her daughter, Karmity Hoeb’s death
Tamara Banks, 41, has been sentenced to at least nine years in jail in connection with her daughter, Karmity Hoeb’s death (Clermont County Jail )

In exchange for pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors dropped the remaining charges against Banks and Hoeb, who is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11.

State law allows officials with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to extend an inmate’s prison term based on conduct, and Banks could serve as long as 13 ½ years.

Prosecutors said Karmity was neglected for most of her life, with her parents denying her adequate nutrition and medical care. Karmity died at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on 25 January 2022.

Days before she died, the child began showing signs that she was in medical distress while she was at home with her parents, the outlet reported. Banks called 911 only when her daughter turned blue and stopped breathing.

Emergency responders managed to revive the child and transported her to a hospital, where doctors diagnosed her as brain dead. The child’s cause of death is a diabetes-related brain injury, an autopsy report stated.

Prosecutors said Tamara Banks fed her child a mixture of Mountain Dew and baby formula through a bottle long after she should’ve been weaned off it, causing her teeth to rot. Prosecutors could not find evidence that Karmity had ever been taken to a dentist, and she’d never been formally diagnosed with diabetes.

“This child did not have to die,” Tharp said.

Banks has an older child who went into a coma at age 4 from undiagnosed diabetes. Prosecutors said the elder child’s condition should’ve prepared Banks for how to care for a child with the condition.

“I thought I was taking care of her,” Banks told Clermont County Common Pleas Judge Victor Haddad.

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

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