Ruby Franke’s strict approach to parenting on the now-defunct family YouTube channel 8 Passengers has led to her being reported to child protective services in the past.

In a shocking turn of events, Ruby Franke, the Utah mother who gained fame through her family YouTube channel 8 Passengers, has been apprehended on charges of child abuse. The distressing discovery of a malnourished minor with visible wounds and their limbs restrained by duct tape prompted officials to take action against Franke.

Ruby Franke

Ruby Franke

Youtuber Ruby Franke’s business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, was apprehended on identical allegations. The duo frequently join forces to create videos offering relationship and parenting guidance for Hildebrandt’s life counseling service, ConneXions. In the past, ConneXions has faced backlash for its parenting ideologies that place the organization’s principles of truth above the well-being of individuals’ children.

In a press release issued on Thursday, the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department announced that they had been alerted to a young person in dire need of assistance. The individual was reported to be extremely thin and malnourished, with visible wounds and their extremities bound with duct tape.

According to a press release, the juvenile’s condition was extremely serious, prompting their evaluation by Santa Clara-Ivins EMS and subsequent transfer to a nearby hospital. Following the discovery of another youth in a similar state, law enforcement officers were led to a neighboring residence where the individual was also taken to receive medical care. As a result of the investigation at the home where these malnourished young individuals were located, four minors were placed under the supervision of the Department of Child and Family Services.

According to the release, Ruby Franke and Hildebrandt were apprehended in relation to the incident. The Washington County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that both individuals remain detained. Despite NBC News reaching out for comment, representatives for Franke and Hildebrandt have yet to respond. Additionally, requests for comment from the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Department have gone unanswered.

In 2015, Ruby Franke gained popularity through her family YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, which showcased her husband Kevin and their six children. The channel amassed nearly 2.3 million subscribers before it was unexpectedly taken down earlier this year. The reasons behind its removal from YouTube remain unclear. However, the Frankes’ strict parenting methods have sparked concerns among some viewers who have reported them to authorities.

In June 2020, after their then-15-year-old son Chad revealed in a video that he had been sleeping on a beanbag for seven months, certain viewers contacted local child protective services, as reported by Insider. Ruby Franke explained to the outlet that this sleeping arrangement was Chad’s choice following his removal from sharing a room with his younger brother due to behavioral issues.

Ruby Franke

Popular YouTuber Ruby Franke has been receiving criticism for her refusal to provide lunch to her 6-year-old child after they forgot to pack food, as well as threatening to discard her children’s cherished belongings. On Wednesday night, Ruby’s eldest daughter Shari Franke took to her Instagram Story to share news of her mother’s arrest.

Previously estranged from her immediate family, Shari posted an image of police officers with the caption Finally. In another Instagram Story post, she expressed gratitude that justice is finally being served and acknowledged their ongoing efforts to report the situation to the authorities.

In her post, she reassured everyone that the children are safe, but acknowledged that there is still a challenging journey ahead. She kindly asked for prayers for the kids and requested privacy to be respected. Additionally, she urged her followers to send her any suspicious or concerning ConneXions or 8Passengers videos on Thursday.

Shari Franke has not yet responded to comment requests. Elle Mechem, Julie Griffiths Deru, and Bonnie Hoellein, who claim to be Ruby Franke’s sisters and are also influential figures in the family influencer community, released a joint Instagram statement expressing their belief that her arrest was necessary.

The past 3 years have witnessed our silence regarding Ruby Franke, our sister, out of concern for her children, as stated in the post. Privately, we have exerted all efforts to ensure the safety of the kids. There has been no response yet from Mechem, Deru, and Hoellein regarding comment requests. In Utah, aggravated child abuse is legally described as an action that results in severe physical harm to a child or allows another person to cause such harm.

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