Mom who gave parenting advice on ‘8 Passengers’ YouTube channel arrested on suspicion of child abuse

by Chloe Baker
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Child Abuse Consequences

A woman from Utah, known for her past involvement in a now-defunct YouTube channel called “8 Passengers,” where she provided parenting advice, has been apprehended on suspicions of aggravated child abuse. This occurrence transpired subsequent to her malnourished son managing to escape through a window and seek help from a neighboring house, prompting her arrest.

Ruby Franke, the individual in question, was taken into custody on a Wednesday evening in the city of Ivins, located in southern Utah. The arrest took place at the residence of Jodi Hildebrandt, who operates a counseling business focused on guiding individuals towards personal improvement through principles of honesty, responsibility, and humility. Recent online videos featuring Franke alongside Hildebrandt, published by the counseling business known as ConneXions Classroom, have come to light.

The incident unfolded as Franke’s 12-year-old son fled through a window at Hildebrandt’s residence in Ivins, reaching out to a nearby neighbor’s house on Wednesday morning to seek sustenance and hydration. A detailed affidavit, submitted by an officer from the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department, noted that the boy’s ankles and wrists displayed evidence of duct tape restraint. This prompted the neighbor to alert the authorities. The young boy was subsequently taken to a medical facility where his condition raised concern, attributed to both his physical state of malnourishment and injuries stemming from being bound by rope.

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Franke’s 10-year-old daughter was also in a malnourished state within Hildebrandt’s residence. She was likewise transported to a medical facility. Meanwhile, two other children belonging to Franke were placed under the care of child protection services.

Both Franke and Hildebrandt now face arrest on charges of aggravated child abuse, with two felony counts against each of them. However, formal charges have yet to be filed according to law enforcement sources. Franke invoked her right to legal representation and refrained from engaging in conversations with officers, as documented in the affidavit. Her legal counsel had not been publicly disclosed at the time of the report.

Efforts to reach out to Ruby Franke’s husband for comment were met with redirection to his attorney, Randy S. Kester. Kester emphasized his representation of Kevin Franke’s interests in ensuring the well-being and unity of his children. He refrained from commenting on Ruby Franke’s arrest. Similarly, an attempt to obtain a statement from Hildebrandt’s counseling business yielded no response.

A judicial decision was rendered, denying Ruby Franke bail based on the gravity of her children’s injuries as well as the Department of Child and Family Services taking custody of four of Franke’s children. The investigating officer was also yet to communicate with two of the children. Notably, even as the children were found at Hildebrandt’s residence, video evidence from two days prior suggested Franke’s presence at the location, implicating her awareness of the abusive, malnourished, and neglected conditions.

Hildebrandt, too, was denied bail in accordance with court records.

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