WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Utah Vlogger Ruby Franke was officially charged with child abuse in the Fifth District Court in St. George today, Sept. 1.
Franke and business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were each charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse following the discovery of two of Franke’s children in conditions of neglect and abuse on Wednesday, Aug. 30.
Franke was made famous by her YouTube vlog “8 Passengers” where she chronicled her parenting techniques, which often came under public scrutiny.
Hildebrandt is the creator of the mental health company “Connexions Classroom” and cohost of Moms of Truth with Franke, all of which she said were designed to “treat those lost and stranded in the darkness of distortion.”
Police arrested the two women after Franke’s son escaped through a window of a house owned by Hildebrandt and fled to a neighboring home looking for food and water. The neighbor noticed duct tape on the child’s ankles and wrists and called police.
Law enforcement reports in court documents state the 12-year-old was found to be severely malnourished. Other wounds were also reported on the child, who was taken to a local hospital and placed on a medical hold due to “deep lacerations from being tied up with rope and malnourishment.”
The child led police back to the home, where a search found another child of Franke’s hiding in the home in much the same conditions.
Later in the day on Aug. 30, Washington County worked with Springville Police to locate the last two minors — both teenagers — in Franke’s residence in American Fork, Utah. All of the children have been taken into care by the Utah Department of Children and Family Services.
No court dates have been established yet. This is a developing story and ABC4 will update the story as more information becomes available.