Mom Sentenced in Death of 4-Year-Old Daughter Who Was Fed Mountain Dew in a Bottle, Causing Her Teeth to Rot

Tamara Banks, 41, has been sentenced to at least nine years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in March

<p>FOX19</p> Tamara Banks


Tamara Banks

An Ohio woman has been sentenced to at least nine years in prison after her 4-year-old daughter died from severe malnutrition, with her teeth rotten from a diet of mostly Mountain Dew.

Tamara Banks, 41, of Clermont County was sentenced on Friday, May 24, after she pleaded guilty in March to involuntary manslaughter, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Prosecutors said that the child died in January 2022 after being neglected and abused by her parents, and that she experienced diabetes-related complications after being fed the Mountain Dew through a baby bottle, local affiliate station FOX 19 previously reported. The girl's teeth had rotted out and she had almost none left, the outlet added.

The Cincinnati Enquirer also reported that Banks would sometimes mix baby formula with the soda and feed her daughter through a bottle long after she should have been weaned from it. Prosecutors also said that investigators could not find evidence that the girl had ever been to a dentist.

"This is one of the most tragic cases I have ever encountered," Clermont County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Clay Tharp told The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Christopher Hoeb, the girl's father, was also charged in her death and is set to be sentenced on June 11, the outlet added. Banks and Hoeb were indicted for murder, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering a child, Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve said, per FOX 19.

A judge previously dismissed the murder and child endangerment charges, FOX 19 reported.

Prosecutors also added that the girl had been suffering from diabetes "that was left undiagnosed and untreated over a long period of time," according to WCPO. Her cause of death was diabetic ketoacidosis, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when ketones build up in the bloodstream.

The Clermont County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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WCPO reported that Hoeb and Banks found their daughter unresponsive on Jan. 21, 2022, and called 911. She was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, where she was eventually declared brain-dead and later taken off life support. She died four days later, per The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Tharp argued that the girl's death could have been prevented if her parents had treated her diabetes, telling The Cincinnati Enquirer: "This child did not have to die."

Prosecutors also said that Banks has older children who suffered similar incidents in her care, including a son who fell into a coma at age 4 from undiagnosed diabetes, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The outlet added that prosecutors said that Banks' son was neglected even after waking up from the coma, as he missed follow-up appointments with doctors.

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of police tape


Stock image of police tape

Banks previously told a judge that she thought she was taking care of her daughter to the best of her ability, stating in court, "I thought I was taking care of her," per The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The outlet also reported that under Ohio state law, Banks could serve as much as 13 and a half years if the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction decides to extend her sentence based on behavior while jailed.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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