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Influencer Ruby Franke is formally charged with felony child abuse

YouTube has removed all of Ms Franke’s videos

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 06 September 2023 17:34 BST
Related video: ‘8 Passengers’ Ruby Franke’s Daughter Shari Franke Speaks On Mother’s Arrest

YouTube influencer Ruby Franke has been formally charged with six counts of felony child abuse after one of her sons escaped her home and requested help from local police.

Ms Franke ran the "8 Passengers" YouTube channel, which focused on her and her now ex-husband's lives with their six children in Utah. She became notabe for the backlash her videos generated, with some viewers accusing her of being too strict and controlling of her children.

Ms Franke was arrested last week along with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt. Ms Hildebrandt, who invited Ms Franke to join her Connexions life counseling service, was also charged with six counts of felony child abuse, according to NBC News.

Though neighbours had previously complained to police about Ms Franke, the situation at her home became critical last week after her 12-year-old son escaped and sought help.

The boy was emaciated, had duct tape on his hands and ankles, and appeared to be suffering from open wounds. After police connected with the boy, they searched Ms Franke's house, where they found a 10-year-old girl also allegedly underfed and suffering from wounds.

Four of Ms Franke's children were put into the care of Utah's Division of Child and Family Services. Her two oldest children are adults. Ms Franke's estranged 20-year-old daughter, Shari, celebrated her mother's arrest on social media, writing "finally" over a video of police removing her siblings.

"Today has been a big day," she said in another post. "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."

Each of the child abuse counts facing Ms Franke and Ms Hildebrandt carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted, according to the Washington County Attorney's Office.

“There are two juvenile victims in these cases, and each defendant is accused of causing or permitting serious physical injury to the victims in three different ways: (1) a combination of multiple physical injuries or torture, (2) starvation or malnutrition that jeopardizes life, and (3) causing severe emotional harm,” the county attorney said.

Both women are expected to appear in court on Friday, according to a probable cause affidavit.

YouTube has removed Ms Franke's channels.

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