Mother Receives Sentence for Four-Year-Old Daughter’s Death, Caused by Feeding her Mountain Dew Leading to Rotten Teeth

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An Ohio woman has been sentenced to a minimum of nine years in prison after her 4-year-old daughter died due to severe malnutrition and dental decay, caused primarily by a diet of Mountain Dew.

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Tamara Banks, 41, from Clermont County, was sentenced on Friday, May 24, after admitting to involuntary manslaughter in March, as reported by The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Prosecutors noted the child passed away in January 2022 due to neglect and abuse by her parents. She suffered from diabetes-related issues after being fed Mountain Dew via a baby bottle, as detailed by local affiliate FOX 19. The outlet also noted the child’s teeth were so decayed she had almost none remaining.

The Cincinnati Enquirer further reported that Banks sometimes mixed baby formula with soda to feed her daughter from a bottle well beyond the typical weaning period. Additionally, there was no evidence found that the girl had ever visited a dentist.

“This is one of the most tragic cases I’ve ever seen,” said Clermont County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Clay Tharp to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Christopher Hoeb, the girl’s father, faces similar charges related to her death and is scheduled for sentencing on June 11, the outlet reported. Banks and Hoeb were charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, and two counts of child endangerment, stated Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve, according to FOX 19.

A judge had earlier dismissed the charges of murder and child endangerment, as reported by FOX 19.

Prosecutors also highlighted that the girl was suffering from undiagnosed and untreated diabetes for a prolonged period, as WCPO reported. Her death was due to diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious diabetic complication that develops when ketones accumulate in the blood, explains the Mayo Clinic.

The Clermont County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Scottish Policy Now’s request for a statement.

WCPO revealed that Hoeb and Banks discovered their daughter unresponsive on January 21, 2022, and dialed 911. She was transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, declared brain-dead, and subsequently removed from life support, dying four days later, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Tharp asserted that the girl’s death was preventable if her diabetes had been managed, telling The Cincinnati Enquirer: “This child did not have to die.”

The prosecutors also mentioned that Banks has other children who experienced similar neglect, including a son who fell into a coma at age 4 due to undiagnosed diabetes, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Despite waking from the coma, he missed necessary follow-up medical appointments.

Banks had previously expressed to a judge her belief that she was caring for her daughter adequately, stating in court, “I thought I was taking care of her,” as per The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The publication also noted that under Ohio law, Banks could face up to 13 and a half years in prison if the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction opts to extend her sentence based on her behavior while incarcerated.

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