An Arizona mom who ran a popular YouTube channel before she was charged with dozens of counts of child abuse and unlawful imprisonment has died.
Machelle Hobson, who ran the “Fantastic Adventures” YouTube channel featuring scripted skits acted out by the very same children she was accused of abusing, died in a Scottsdale hospital Tuesday, according to KNXV-TV.
No details were given on how Hobson died other than to say her death was a result of “health conditions.”
She had been facing 29 charges, including multiple counts of child abuse, kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment, after it was alleged that she starved, beat and tortured her children with pepper spray if she did not like how they performed for the YouTube channel, The Arizona Republic reports.
Her children reported being locked in closets for days, having pepper spray rubbed on their genitals and being beaten for not remembering their lines for the popular show that had amassed more than 700,000 YouTube followers and 242 million views before her arrest.
YouTube took the channel down after the allegations against Hobson were made public; however, it's estimated that the popularity of the channel had earned the family hundreds of thousands of dollars, KNXV-TV reports.
Hobson’s children—many of whom had been foster children before she adopted them—also told authorities that were not attending school so that they could focus on producing the show.
Hobson had pleaded not guilty to the charges against her before her death, but had been ruled incompetent to stand trial by state and defense doctors in August.
A police source had previously told KNXV-TV that Hobson had been hospitalized after suffering a brain injury while she was incarcerated.
Its not clear whether that was related to her death.
The Pinal County Attorney’s Office will likely dismiss the charges in light of her death after an official death certificate is received.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.