Ruby Franke: ‘8 Passengers’ YouTube Channel Arrested on Child Abuse Suspicions
Popular Parenting Vlogger Ruby Franke and Partner Taken into Custody
By Madeline Halpert
In a shocking turn of events, Ruby Franke, the familiar face behind the popular parenting advice YouTube channel ‘8 Passengers,’ has been apprehended on allegations of child abuse, following the escape of her emaciated son from their Utah home, according to authorities.
Child Abuse Arrest
On Wednesday, Ruby Franke and her business associate, Jodi Nan Hildebrandt, were taken into custody in Ivins, Utah, as concerns over child abuse intensified. The situation took a darker twist as officials discovered Ms. Franke’s 10-year-old daughter in a similarly malnourished condition at her partner’s residence.
Both Ms. Franke and Ms. Hildebrandt now confront two felony charges of child abuse. The BBC has reached out to the accused parties for their response on the matter.
The grim events began when Ms. Franke’s 12-year-old son managed to slip out of a window and seek help from a neighboring household, pleading for sustenance and hydration. The neighbor, upon contacting the authorities, described the juvenile as emaciated, displaying open wounds and with duct tape around his extremities.
A statement issued by the Santa-Clara Ivins Public Safety Department noted, “Upon arrival, law enforcement observed the wounds and the malnourishment of [the boy] to be severe.” The boy’s injuries were so severe that he had to be rushed to the hospital, suffering deep lacerations from being restrained with rope and severe malnourishment. Simultaneously, Ms. Franke’s 10-year-old daughter was also admitted to the hospital for medical attention.
Legal Action and Child Services Intervention
Subsequent to the initial response, authorities secured a search warrant tied to the incident. In total, four children were placed under the protective care of family and child services, as detailed in the official statement.
YouTube Fame and Controversy
Ruby Franke, 41, achieved notoriety on YouTube in the early 2010s through her channel, ‘8 Passengers,’ which offered insights into the parenting journey of her six children. Collaborating with Jodi Nan Hildebrandt, the duo also featured on YouTube videos via Hildebrandt’s counseling site, ConneXions Classroom.
With over 2 million subscribers, ‘8 Passengers’ garnered substantial attention before its deactivation earlier this year. However, Ms. Franke’s strict parenting methods, as portrayed on the channel, garnered controversy. Her son had previously claimed to be relegated to sleeping on a bean bag for months as a form of punishment. Additionally, Ms. Franke discussed withholding meals as another disciplinary measure. These practices had prompted some viewers to report the situation to local child protective services, although Ms. Franke argued that the bean bag incident had been taken out of context in an interview with Insider.
In response to her mother’s arrest, Ms. Franke’s eldest daughter, Shari Franke, posted a message on Instagram, expressing relief that justice was finally being served. US media outlets reported her statement: “We’ve been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up.”
Ms. Franke, who has invoked her right to legal counsel, has not provided a statement to law enforcement, according to the Associated Press. As of Thursday, the identity of her attorney remained undisclosed to the public.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why was Ruby Franke arrested?
Ruby Franke was arrested on allegations of child abuse after her emaciated son escaped from their Utah home, seeking help.
Q: What charges does Ruby Franke face?
Ruby Franke faces two felony charges of child abuse.
Q: Are there any other individuals involved in the case?
Yes, Ruby Franke’s business associate, Jodi Nan Hildebrandt, was also taken into custody in relation to the case.
Q: How are the children involved in this case being cared for now?
Following the incident, four children have been placed under the protective care of family and child services.
Q: What is the status of Ruby Franke’s YouTube channel ‘8 Passengers’?
‘8 Passengers’ was deactivated earlier this year, amid controversy surrounding Ruby Franke’s parenting methods.