Former mummy blogger and YouTuber Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt have reportedly been arrested in Utah on Wednesday under suspicion of two counts of aggravated child abuse.
According to arrest records obtained by Page Six, police were called after an “emaciated” child with duct tape around their ankles and wrists escaped through a window of licensed therapist Hildebrandt’s home in Utah and asked a neighbor for food and water. The neighbour hastily called the authorities who came to the scene to investigate.
The statement from local police says the child “appeared to be emaciated and malnourished, with open wounds and duct tape around the extremities,” per Page Six.
A second child was reportedly found at the home soon after, and both children were transported to hospital. The reports also alleged that Franke was arrested because she had filmed a video in Hidebrandt’s home days before the child was discovered, which police believed to show that she had “knowledge of the abuse, malnourishment, and neglect.”
Franke was the host of the YouTube channel 8 Passengers, which documented the lives of Franke, her husband Kevin, and their six children: Shari, Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell, and Eve.
It was launched in early 2015 and went on to amass almost 2.3 million subscribers on the platform. Their channel focused on the parent’s strict parenting style and the children’s home-schooling until it was taken down earlier this year, as reported by Forbes.
Franke has gone on to become one of the faces of Hildebrandt’s parent advice and counselling YouTube channel and service called ConneXions, which claims to offer healing services that “psychotherapy cannot offer”.
In 2020, Franke came under fire for allegedly mistreating her children in her YouTube videos. A video of her 15-year-old son Chad began doing the rounds on TikTok in which he claimed he was being made to sleep on a beanbag for seven months as a punishment for pranking his brother. As a result, child protective services were called into their home while the Frankes told Insider that the clips were taken out of context.
In April 2023, eldest daughter Shari revealed that she had cut communications with her parents on a podcast called Into The Light due to their tumultuous relationship and Franke’s involvement with ConneXions.
On Thursday, Shari shared a photo on her Instagram Stories featuring a police car with text that said, “Finally.”
Later, she took to her Stories to make a statement.
“Hi all. Today has been a big day,” she wrote.
“Me and my family are just so glad justice is being served. We’ve been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up. Kids are safe, but there’s a long road ahead. please keep them in your prayers and also respect their privacy.”
Following the arrest, Franke’s sisters have also made a joint statement to social media.
“For the last three years we have kept quiet on the subject of our sister Ruby Franke for the sake of her children. Behind the public scene we have done everything we could to try and make sure the kids were safe,” they said.
“Ruby was arrested which needed to happen. Jodi was arrested which needed to happen. The kids are now safe, which is the number one priority.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Franke’s attorney Randy S. Kester released a statement on his behalf to Page Six which said that his “urgent focus is simply to keep his children together under his fatherly care.”