4-Year-Old Dies After Steady Diet of Mountain Dew

An Ohio woman, Tamara Banks, 41, has been sentenced to a minimum of nine years and a maximum of 13.5 years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of her four-year-old daughter, Karmity Hoeb. The child’s death in January 2022 was attributed to diabetes and tooth decay, both caused by a diet of baby formula mixed with Mountain Dew, a sugary soft drink. The child’s father, Christopher Hoeb, 53, also pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and is scheduled for sentencing on June 11.

The case came to public attention when Karmity suffered a severe medical crisis in January 2022. Banks only called emergency services when her daughter turned blue and stopped breathing. Karmity died in the hospital on January 25, 2022, from a diabetes-related brain injury and the effects of being fed a sugary drink that had dissolved her teeth. Court documents cited by the Cincinnati Inquirer revealed that the child had never been taken to a dentist.

During the court hearing, Clermont County Assistant Prosecutor Clay Tharp detailed the neglect and suffering Karmity endured in her short life. He explained to Clermont County Common Pleas Judge Victor Haddad that the child’s overall care was so poor that it led to her death. One of the main indicators of this neglect was the presence of ‘baby bottle caries,’ a type of tooth decay caused by consuming sugary liquids from a bottle. In Karmity’s case, she was given Mountain Dew in a bottle daily, leading to the rotting of all her teeth.

The judge, during the hearing, expressed his disappointment in the parents’ failure to provide even mediocre care for their child. He stated that ignorance was not an acceptable excuse for their actions. In response, Banks claimed she believed she was taking care of her daughter.

The parents were indicted last summer on several charges, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, and endangering children. Despite the tragic circumstances of her life and death, Karmity’s obituary painted a picture of a happy, vibrant girl who loved looking at herself in the mirror and playing with her toys. She was described as a child who brought joy and love to every day and touched everyone who ever met her.