Internet Mom Influencer Ruby Franke Arrested on Aggravated Child Abuse Charges

Ruby Franke, a once-popular mom influencer offering parenting advice on Instagram and the now-defunct 8 Passengers YouTube channel, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse in Ivins, Utah, officials announced.

In a press release issued Thursday, the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Dept. said that on Aug. 30, 2023, at about 10:50 a.m., “a report came into our dispatch center regarding a juvenile asking for help. The calling party stated the juvenile appeared to be emaciated and malnourished, with open wounds and duct tape around the extremities. The juvenile was asking for food and water.”

After obtaining a search warrant for the home in question, four children were “taken into the care of the Department of Child and Family Services,” according to the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Dept. release. Ruby Franke and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, “were arrested in connection with the incident,” the release stated. “Due to the sensitive nature of this case, no additional information will be released at this time.”

Two of the kids were in such a “physical condition of malnourishment” that they were taken by local emergency medical services personnel to a hospital for treatment, according to the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Dept.

Franke and Hildebrandt did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Both were booked by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and charged with two counts of “aggravated child abuse – intentionally or knowingly,” per the sheriff’s website.

Franke launched the 8 Passengers YouTube channel in in 2015 featuring her husband Kevin and six children. The videos on the channel covered parenting and home-schooling topics by the couple, who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The 8 Passengers channel had a following of almost 2.3 million subscribers before it was removed from YouTube earlier this year for unknown reasons, NBC News reported. In addition to the YouTube channel, Franke, with Hildebrandt, ran the @moms_of_truth account on Instagram, with 341,000 followers.

According to Franke’s bio on Hildebrandt’s ConneXions business website, “Ruby Franke is a certified mental fitness trainer with ConneXions. She is a wife and a mother to 6 wonderful children. She provides content on ConneXions’ social media platforms and podcasts that focus on empowering parents and children to live in Truth.”

As reported by People, Franke’s oldest daughter, 20-year-old Shari Franke wrote in an Instagram Story post, “Hi all. Today has been a big day. 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.”

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