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Crime News Family Crimes

Mom Influencer Ruby Franke Arrested for Alleged Child Abuse and Her Sisters Support the Move

Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were charged with child abuse last week. Franke's sisters said the arrests "needed to happen."

By Grace Jidoun
Five Tips On How To Report Child Abuse

Parenting influencer Ruby Franke was arrested on August 30 for alleged child abuse, and her two sisters have since expressed their support of the charges against her.

The 41-year-old mother of six and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were each charged in Southern Utah with six counts of aggravated child abuse.

A call came in to authorities at around 10:50 a.m. on August 30 about "a juvenile asking for help," the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department stated in a press release the next day. 

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"The calling party stated the juvenile appeared to be emaciated and malnourished, with open wounds and duct tape around the extremities," the release continued. "The juvenile was asking for food and water. The condition of the juvenile was so severe that they were seen by Santa Clara-Ivins EMS and transported to a local area hospital."

Police gathered info that minors experiencing similar issues might be in a nearby home.

"Officers arrived at the home and searched the residence, locating another juvenile in a similar physical condition of malnourishment," the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department added. "That juvenile was also transported by EMS to the hospital for treatment."

Officials then obtained a search warrant. "During the search of the home, evidence was located consistent with the markings found on the juvenile," the release stated

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The Department of Child and Family Services was contacted, and working with the Springville Police Department, authorities took four minor children into the care of the Department of Child and Family Services. Hildebrandt and Franke were arrested in connection with the incident.

"Due to the sensitive nature of this case, no additional information will be released at this time," the public safety department stated. 

Since 2015, Franke had amassed 2.8 million followers on her now-deleted YouTube Channel “8 Passengers," where she documented her family’s everyday life and posted hundreds of videos of her family, including her husband, Kevin, and six children. The couple often came under fire from viewers for their harsh parenting style.

In one episode, their then-15-year-old son said his room was taken away, and that he slept on a beanbag chair for seven months. This sparked an outcry among viewers and a visit from child protective services, which closed the case due to unsupported claims, according to Insider. Franke and her husband, Kevin, denied all allegations in a June 2020 interview with Insider.

"8 Passengers" was shut down earlier this year, but Franke popped up in another video series, "ConneXions Classroom," with Hildebrandt, who is the founder of a controversial life-coaching business called ConneXions.

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Hildebrandt is a therapist who had her license suspended in 2012 after she disclosed a patient’s porn addiction to the Mormon Church, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. In the Meet the Founder section of her website, Hildebrandt states, “I have counseled thousands of individuals and families of all ages and situations with my unique style of educating about the power of choice and the need for impeccable honesty, rigorous responsibility, and vulnerable humility.” Franke is listed as a “certified mental fitness trainer.”

Franke's sisters expressed their support for the recent arrests on social media. Ellie Mechan and Julie Deru posted on Instagram that the arrests “needed to happen."

“For the last 3 years, we have kept quiet on the subject of our sister Ruby Franke for the sake of her children," they wrote in a statement on August 31. "Behind the public scene we have done everything we could to try and make sure the kids were safe."

Franke's sisters, also mom influencers on social media, continued: “We wouldn’t feel right about moving forward with regular content without addressing the most recent events. Once we do, we will not be commenting on it further.

“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."

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