Mommy blogger and family influencer Ruby Franke has been arrested for aggravated child abuse after her son was reportedly found by neighbors wounded, emaciated, and asking for help, according to a police report obtained by Page Six.
According to the report, Franke and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, were both arrested on Wednesday after the child allegedly escaped from a window in Hildebrandt’s home in Ivins, Utah, and asked neighbors for help. Page Six reports that the child was asking neighbors at nearby homes for food and water, but people called the police after seeing remnants of duct tape on the child’s hands and ankles. Arrest documents obtained by Page Six also state that when police arrived, the child “appeared to be emaciated and malnourished, with open wounds.”
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“The condition of the juvenile was so severe that they were seen by Santa Clara-Ivins EMS and transported to a local area hospital,” The Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department said in a press release Thursday.
Franke is best known for her highly controversial YouTube channel “8 Passengers,” where she documented her strict parenting techniques for disciplining her six children — like withholding lunch, removing bedroom doors, and threatening to throw away toys and clothes with sentimental value as punishments. The channel, which was removed from YouTube earlier this year due to unknown circumstances, had over 2.3 million followers. While it was live, commenters regularly accused her of abuse. NBC News reports that in 2020, viewers called Child Protective Services after Franke posted an “8 Passengers” video in which her 15-year-old son claimed he slept on a beanbag for at least seven months. At the time, Franke defended the comment by saying it was her son’s choice — and has been constant in defending her parenting style as necessary.
While police were examining the home, authorities reportedly found another “emaciated child,” who was also taken to the hospital, according to Page Six. According to AP, the two children were later identified as Franke’s 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. Four other minors were taken into custody. The arrest report for Franke and Hilberant says that Franke was filming YouTube videos in the home days earlier and had “knowledge of the abuse, malnourishment and neglect.”
According to Page Six, Franke and Hildebrant are being held under suspicion of two counts of aggravated child abuse. Rolling Stone was not able to reach Franke or Hildebrandt for comment.
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