Utah Influencer Ruby Franke Arrested on Child Abuse Charges

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Content warning: This story discusses child abuse.

Ruby Franke is facing legal trouble for alleged child abuse.

The mother of six, who ran the now-deleted 8 Passengers YouTube channel, was detained and remains in custody for aggravated child abuse charges in Utah, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt, her business partner, were arrested on the charges Aug. 30 after police were alerted to a report of a starved child, the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department said in a press release.

Authorities said the child, who appeared “emaciated and malnourished” with “open wounds and duct tape around the extremities,” had been seeking food and water. The child, whose name and age were not disclosed, was transported to a local hospital due to their “severe” condition.

Police said they were informed that children in a nearby residence could be undergoing similar circumstances, prompting officers to search a nearby home, where they said they found another juvenile “in a similar physical condition of malnourishment.” That child, too, was transported to a hospital, per the press release.

Additionally, police said they located evidence “consistent with the markings found” on the first child.

The two children were staying in Hildebrandt’s home at the time, according to a police booking affidavit obtained by NBC affiliate KSL.com

“Ms. Hildebrandt requested a lawyer and did not speak with us,” police wrote, per the outlet. “Once given her charges, Ms. Hildebrandt informed me [the children] should never be allowed around any other kids.”


Four more minor children were taken into the care of the Department of Child and Family Services, according to the press release.

E! News was not able to obtain attorney contact information for Ruby and Jodi. NBC News reached out to Ruby and Jodi’s reps for comment and has not heard back.


Shari Franke, Ruby’s estranged 20-year-old daughter, appeared to share photos from the incident on her Instagram Story, which show a black vehicle and police officers in a residential area. She wrote, “Finally.”

“Today has been a big day,” Shari wrote. “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. Kids are safe, but there’s a long road ahead. Please keep them in your prayers and also respect their privacy.”

In a follow-up post, Shari asked supporters to send her “questionable or concerning” content related to her mother’s 8 Passengers channel. The channel was previously criticized by viewers for Ruby’s extreme parenting methods, including one video that has circulated on social media.

In the clip, Ruby refuses to bring her 6-year-old daughter lunch after she forgot to bring food to school.

“The natural outcome is she’s just going to have to be hungry,” Ruby said in the video. “And hopefully nobody gives her food and nobody steps in and gives her a lunch because then she’s not going to learn from the natural outcome.”

(E! News and NBC News are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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