“Finally,” Ruby Franke’s eldest daughter Shari captioned a photo of police outside the family’s home, while Ruby’s influencer sisters all said the arrest “needed to happen.”
A mom who amassed more than 2 million followers on YouTube thanks to her family content has been arrested for child abuse.
Ruby Franke — who ran the YouTube channel 8 Passengers before pulling it down earlier this year amid criticism — and her podcasting partner Jodi Hildebrand were both taken into custody by police in Utah earlier this morning. They have since been charged with aggravated child abuse.
According to the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safely Department, police received a call on Wednesday from a citizen after a child reportedly climbed out of a window at Hildebrand’s home appearing “emaciated and malnourished.” The caller said the child had “open wounds and duct tape around the extremities” and was asking for both food and water.
“The condition of the juvenile was so severe that they were seen by Santa Clara-Ivins EMS and transported to a local area hospital,” said the release. After police received information that others “in similar condition” may be inside the home, they searched the residence and said they found “another juvenile in a similar physical condition of malnourishment.”
That child was also taken to hospital for treatment.
The Public Safety Department said that after obtaining a search warrant, “evidence was located consistent with the markings found on the juvenile” — adding that four minors were placed into the care of the Department of Child and Family Services. According to Fox 13 Now, Franke was seen on a YouTube video filmed at the home just days prior, with police saying the footage “adds to Ms. Franke … being present in the home and having knowledge of the abuse, malnourishment and neglect.”
Franke’s oldest daughter Shari Franke took to her Instagram Story on Wednesday night to react to her mom’s arrest.
“Finally,” she wrote over a photo which appears to show police outside the family home. Shari, who Insider claims has been “cut off” from her mother for some time, also shared a second post reading, “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.”
She added that her siblings were “safe,” but noted “there’s a long road ahead” for them.
Shari is one of Ruby and husband Kevin Franke’s six children; they’re also parents to Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell and Eve. The family all appeared in videos on the 8 Passengers channel, which launched back in 2015, before it was shuttered earlier this year. According to Insider, Franke’s parenting style was criticized by some viewers who felt it was abusive, while some of her comments were deemed offensive. After the 8 Passengers channel was deleted, she and Hildebrand launched their ConneXions podcast, which also sparked criticism.
Following Ruby’s arrest, her three sisters — who are influencers themselves and have more than two million YouTube subscribers between them — released a joint statement saying the arrest “needed to happen.”
“For the last 3 years we have kept quiet on the subject of our sister Ruby Franke for the sake of her children,” they wrote. “Behind the public scene we have done everything we could to try and make sure the kids were safe.”
“Ruby was arrested which needed to happen,” they continued. “Jodi was arrested which needed to happen. The kids are now safe, which is the number one priority.”
So far, neither Franke or Hildebrandt have commented on the arrests.