YouTuber Ruby Franke, known for her popular channel “8 Passengers,” has found herself facing serious charges. On August 30, the 41-year-old mother, who gained fame for sharing her life as a Mormon mother-of-six, was arrested on two counts of aggravated child abuse. Her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, also faces six counts of felony child abuse in Washington County, Utah. This development follows a distressing incident where Ruby Franke’s 12-year-old son, Russell, was discovered with open wounds and duct tape on his limbs.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by NBC, the young boy managed to escape from Hildebrandt’s residence through a window and sought help from a neighbor. Upon discovery, not only was Russell in a severely emaciated state, but Ruby and her husband Kevin Franke’s 10-year-old daughter, Eve, were also found in a similar condition.
The gravity of these charges is not to be underestimated. Each count of felony child abuse carries a potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Furthermore, the Washington County attorney has stated that the two women are believed to have caused or permitted ‘serious physical injury’ in three different ways: “(1) a combination of multiple physical injuries or torture, (2) starvation or malnutrition that jeopardizes life, and (3) causing severe emotional harm.”
It’s important to note that this troubling incident has had severe consequences for Ruby Franke’s other four children – Shari, Chad, Abby, and Julie – as they were taken into custody by the Utah Division of Child and Family Services.
Both Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt remain in custody as of September 5, with their next court appearance scheduled for September 8.
Ruby Franke, who had garnered over 2.2 million subscribers by sharing her family’s day-to-day life on YouTube, stopped uploading videos in January 2022, and her page was subsequently removed from the platform. She cited her desire to ‘save her kids’ as the reason for her sudden departure.
This case has garnered significant attention, particularly due to Ruby Franke’s previous controversies, including an incident in which she allowed her daughter Eve to go hungry as a form of discipline. It was this controversial parenting style that initially propelled her to fame on YouTube.
In response to her mother’s arrest, Ruby’s eldest daughter, Shari, took to social media, expressing relief that justice was finally being served. She had reportedly been trying to bring the situation to the attention of authorities for years.
As the legal proceedings continue, the community and the public at large are closely following this case, hoping for the safety and well-being of the Franke children and seeking justice for any wrongdoing that may have occurred.