Sunday, June 23, 2024

Ohio Mom Sentenced for Death of Diabetic Child After Feeding Her Mostly Soda Diet

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An Ohio mother was sentenced on Friday to at least nine years in prison for manslaughter after feeding her diabetic four-year-old daughter a diet consisting mainly of Mountain Dew. 

“Tamara Banks pled guilty to manslaughter in March for the death of her daughter, Karmity Hoeb, who died in 2022 of a diabetes-related brain injury,” The New York Post reported. “Banks, 41, often gave the girl bottles of baby formula mixed with the neon-green sugary soda, according to prosecutors, long after she should have been weaned off bottles.”

Karmity died at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital due to diabetic ketoacidosis, the Cincinnati Inquirer reported. The child displayed symptoms of a “serious medical issue” for several days, but Banks did not call 911 until her daughter turned blue and stopped breathing, according to the report. Prosecutors said a later scan showed Karmity was brain dead. 

Prosecutors argued that Karmity was abused, neglected, and denied proper nutrition and medical care. They also found that her teeth had rotted away by the time of her death, and that her parents had never taken her to a dentist. Mountain Dew notably contains 77 grams of sugar — far more than the less than 24 grams recommended by experts, according to the report. 

“This is one of the most tragic cases I have ever encountered,” Clermont County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Clay Tharp said. “This child did not have to die.”

Banks also had a son who went into a coma when he was four years old because of undiagnosed diabetes, prosecutors pointed out. Clermont County Common Pleas Judge Victor Haddad said Banks should have learned from her son’s condition about the dangers of diabetes before her daughter’s death, the Inquirer reported.

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

Banks, who was pictured in court in a wheelchair, said: “I though I was taking care of her.” Prosecutors found that Banks had “regularly refilled her own prescriptions and even had doctors make house calls for her medical needs,” according to the report. 

“The sentence came after 41-year-old Tamara Banks pleaded guilty in March to involuntary manslaughter. Under a state law that says the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction can extend someone’s sentence based on conduct while in prison, Banks could serve as much as 13½ years,” the Inquirer reported. 

Karmity’s father, 53-year-old Christopher Hoeb, also pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and will be sentenced in June. 

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