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New footage shows moment YouTube mum Ruby Franke is arrested for child abuse

New footage shows moment YouTube mum Ruby Franke is arrested for child abuse

The mum used to share parenting tips on YouTube

New footage has been released showing the moment parenting YouTuber Ruby Franke was arrested on child abuse charges.

The mother of six, 42, was handed the maximum prison sentence last month after she pleaded guilty to four counts of child abuse.

Franke was known for her YouTube channel '8 Passengers' where she vlogged her family life and shared parenting tips with her millions of followers.

However, Franke and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, were arrested last August at Hildebrandt’s house in Utah, after Franke’s 12-year-old son escaped through a window and knocked on a neighbours door for help, pleading for food and water.

Police say he was emaciated, covered in wounds and had duct tape around his wrists and ankles.

Upon entering Hildebrandt’s property, police found another child who also appeared thin and in similar condition.

Washington State Attorney's Office

Describing the ordeal the children went through, state prosecuting attorney Eric Clarke branded the environment they lived in as 'a concentration camp-like setting'.

As part of her plea deal, Franke admitted to holding her son's head underwater, covering his nose and mouth with her hands and kicking him while wearing boots.

Speaking at her sentencing hearing, she told the court she has 'caused people to suffer' and 'betrayed sacred trust'.

Washington State Attorney's Office

Addressing her children directly, she said: "To my babies; my six little chicks — you are a part of me. I will never stop crying for hurting your tender souls.

"You are so precious to me, I’m sorry. My choice to live in fear of the world has created a great vulnerability and a blind spot for me — where I have broken hearts, and I’ve caused people to suffer and I have betrayed sacred trust."

A month on from her sentencing - in which she was handed four separate prison sentences of one to 15 years - new footage has been released of Franke's initial arrest.

The previously unseen bodycam footage shows police in the Utah property as they handcuff Franke and take her outside into the police car.

Franke doesn't say a word, only gesturing by shaking her head when asked if she has anything on her such as a weapon and occasionally nodding in response to some of the search questions.

YouTube/ConneXions Classroom

It's similar to the first police interview which was also released, where again, Franke sits in silence, only speaking to say she'll talk with her lawyer.

Franke and her husband Kevin launched the '8 Passengers' channel back in 2015.

However, in 2022 the channel ended up being closed down as Franke began working with Hildebrandt’s counselling company, ConneXions Classroom, offering parenting seminars, while launching another YouTube channel.

While Franke was handed the maximum sentence for the charges, she will not serve more than 30 years in the Federal Penitentiary because of a Utah law about consecutive sentences.

Full timeline of the Ruby Franke case:

Starting a YouTube channel and initial suspicions

Franke started her parenting YouTube channel '8Passengers' with now ex-husband, Kevin, amassing over 2.5 million subscribers before it was deleted in 2023 following the arrest.

Several subscribers became suspicious of child abuse, with a petition being signed for the police to investigate the family, citing the numerous questionable videos uploaded.

Franke joins ConneXions with Jodi Hildebrandt

The mum told critics in a 2021 interview for The Wrap that she was showing everyone 'what a responsible mother looks like'.

She stopped uploading videos to the channel in 2022, joining Mormon therapist Hildebrandt's ConneXions podcast.

Their divisive opinions on subjects such as eating disorders, blaming rape victims and criticising immigrants drew the wrong kind of attention.

The arrest

Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested on child abuse charges in August 2023.

The Santa Clara Public Safety Department were called to the Ivins neighbourhood in Utah after a neighbour was alerted by Franke's 'emaciated' 12-year-old son, who escaped to knock on their door to ask for help.

He had visible marks and wounds from duct tape put around his ankles, and asked for some food and water.

Police found his 10-year-old sister in a 'similar physical condition of malnourishment' in Hildebrandt's house.

Family members speak out

Franke's oldest daughter, Shari, wrote on Instagram on the day of the arrests: “Today has been a big day."

The 20-year-old continued: "Me and my family are so glad justice is being served. We've been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up."

In November, Kevin also officially filed for divorce from Franke.

Franke and Hildebrandt are charged with six counts of child abuse

Just one week after their arrests, the pair were charged with six counts of felony child abuse.

YouTube banned Franke, deleting both 8Passengers and ConneXions channels and banning her from the social media platform.

Franke blames the abuse on Hildebrandt

Her attorneys released a statement that said: “Initially, Ms. Franke believed that Jodi Hildebrandt had the insight to offer a path to continual improvement. Ms. Hildebrandt took advantage of this quest and twisted it into something heinous," according to Fox13.

It blamed Hildebrandt solely for isolating Franke from her family completely, distorting her morality.

Franke pleads guilty

Just three days after the statement was released, Franke pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse.

Franke and Hildebrandt are sentenced to prison for child abuse

On 20 February 2024, Franke was convicted and given four separate prison sentences of one to 15 years, with the length of each sentence decided by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

Franke will not serve more than 30 years in the Federal Penitentiary because of a Utah law about consecutive sentences.

Hildebrandt received the same sentence and how long she spends in prison will also be decided by the parole board.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 10am-8pm Monday to Friday. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111, 24/7.

Featured Image Credit: Washington County Attorneys Office

Topics: Crime, US News, YouTube, Parenting