The Future Is Here
We may earn a commission from links on this page

YouTube Vlogger Ruby Franke Charged With Six Counts of Felony Child Abuse

Ruby Franke was charged with child abuse alongside her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt after her children were found with lacerations on their extremities.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled YouTube Vlogger Ruby Franke Charged With Six Counts of Felony Child Abuse
Screenshot: Ruby Franke/YouTube

YouTube vlogger Ruby Franke was charged with six counts of felony child abuse on Wednesday, a week after her arrest. Franke is the vlogger behind the parenting YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, where she documented her life with her husband, Kevin, and their parenting methods for her six children.

Franke’s 12-year-old son allegedly escaped out of a window at the home of her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, in Ivins, Utah on August 30. Hildebrandt was also arrested.


The son ran to a neighbor asking for food and water and they reportedly noticed duct tape on the boy’s wrists and ankles, prompting them to quickly contact the authorities. Police arrived at the scene after receiving a call at 10:50 a.m. and they reported that the child appeared “emaciated and malnourished” and observed “deep lacerations from being tied up with rope,” the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department said in a press release. Responding officers also found Franke’s 10-year-old daughter in a similar malnourished state and both children were transported to the hospital before being placed in the care of Utah’s Child and Family Services.

Franke’s two sisters, Ellie Mecham and Julie Griffiths Deru, who both have a prominent social media following, said in an Instagram post that they tried to do everything they could behind the scenes to protect the children, saying over the last three years they hadn’t said anything about Franke “for the sake of her children.” The sisters said they wouldn’t be posting additional comments on the arrests, but wrote: “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.”


“There are two juvenile victims in these cases, and each defendant is accused of causing or permitting serious physical injury to the victims 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,” a county attorney told NBC News.

Franke’s YouTube channel, which had nearly 2.3 million subscribers, was shut down earlier this year and viewers criticized the videos, condemning her strict parenting techniques and threatening to take away meals from her children. Franke and Hildebrandt collaborated on a mental health counseling service, ConneXions, which was also criticized for advising parents to use shame-based learning and telling parents to teach their children to shun people who don’t uphold their same values.

Franke and Hildebrandt are being held by the Washington County Sherrif’s Office, according to an inmate roster, and are expected to appear in court on Friday. They are accused of jeopardizing the lives of the two children by starvation or malnutrition, inflicting multiple physical injuries or torture, and causing severe emotional harm to the two children. The county attorney told NBC that the pair face a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine per charge.