SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — On Wednesday, Ruby Franke, the mother from the popular YouTube channel “8 Passengers,” and Jodi Hildebrandt, founder of “Connexion Classroom” were arrested after allegations of child abuse toward two of Franke’s children.
After the report of the arrests, the Santa Clara Ivins Public Safety Department reported that officials worked with the Springfield Police Department, and four minors had been taken into the care of the Department of Children And Family Services.
Franke rose to fame through YouTube with her family channel called 8 Passengers. On her channel, Franke would speak about her parental techniques and life as a parent of six children. The channel was created in 2015, according to Social Blade, a social media statistic tracking website. Since then, it amassed 2.28M subscribers and over 1 billion video views.
That channel has since been deleted.
Hildebrandt is a life coach who designed and wrote the curriculum for ConneXions Classes, which she says was designed to “treat those lost and stranded in the darkness of distortion.” According to her website, distortion is defined as addiction, fear, sadness, and “all other self-destructive” behaviors.
Hildebrandt said her desire is to help generations “dispose of distortion’s ugly lies” so people can live in “truth, connection, and freedom.”
Both women have come under immense scrutiny for their techniques over the years. Today after the arrests, thousands of comments flooded social media, posts, and comments on videos. Most were in support of the arrest and expressed hopes for the safety of the children.
In a haunting post from Franke’s oldest daughter’s Instagram account, @officialshairfranke (which has since been taken down) posted a picture of police at what is presumably Franke’s home where two of her other children were found with the caption: “Finally.”
She continued on her story: “Today has been a big day. Me and my family are so glad justice is being served. We’ve been trying to tell police and CPS for years about this. And so glad they finally decided to step up,” Shari Franke said. “Kids are safe. But there’s a long road ahead. Please keep them in your prayers and also respect their privacy.”
She went on to ask her followers to contribute to a Google Doc with “questionable or concerning” clips from Connexions or 8passenger videos.
Franke’s 3 sisters also made a statement on their Instagram accounts as well:
For the last 3 years we have kept quiet on the subject of our sister Ruby Franke for the sake of her children. Behind the public scene we have done everything we could to try and make sure the kids were safe.
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.
Along with Franke’s family, many well-known individuals took to social media to give opinions on the arrest. One of the most notable was from a Facebook page managed by the Duggar family of the reality show “19 Kids and Counting.”
On the page Duggar Family News: Life is not all pickles and hairspray the author wrote:
“Finally!! Ruby Franke from 8 Passengers’ vlogs was arrested yesterday with her cult leader, Jodi Hildebrandt. The kids were found duct taped, injured, and malnourished by police.” Duggar continued, “I started watching 8 Passengers on and off about eight or so years ago and quickly got banned from all of Ruby’s social medias for criticizing her and her husband’s parenting. She was a mess long before getting involved with the phony therapist, Jodi. And then Jodi’s horrible leadership really scared me for those kids. I hope the kids aren’t with their father. I don’t trust him much either but I think he can give them the basics. They deserve much more than that though.”