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Who is Ruby Franke, the mom of the 8 Passengers YouTube channel arrested on abuse charges?

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  9 months ago  •  57 comments

By:   Daysia Tolentino and Kalhan Rosenblatt

Who is Ruby Franke, the mom of the 8 Passengers YouTube channel arrested on abuse charges?
Ruby Franke, the mother behind the defunct family YouTube channel 8 Passengers, was arrested on two counts of aggravated child abuse Wednesday after police found a malnourished child with open wounds and duct tape on their extremities.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Ruby Franke, the mother behind the defunct family YouTube channel 8 Passengers, was arrested on two counts of aggravated child abuse Wednesday after police found a malnourished child with open wounds and duct tape on their extremities.

Franke was arrested alongside her business partner and collaborator, Jodi Hildebrandt, who is the founder of the controversial life counseling organization ConneXions. The two women create advice videos that critics say promote a harsh style of parenting.

230831-Ruby-Franke-ew-517p-274b56.jpg Ruby Franke, in a selfie posted to her @moms_of_truth account.@moms_of_truth via Instagram

Franke has come under fire in the past for her now-deleted parenting vlogs. Viewers have accused Franke and her husband, Kevin, of being abusive for years.

Ruby Franke and Hildebrandt did not respond to emails and calls requesting comment. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys representing them.

As news of the arrests circulates, here's what to know about the controversial family influencer.

Who is Ruby Franke and what is 8 Passengers?


Franke and her husband launched their family YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, in early 2015. The channel chronicled the lives of the parents and their six children: Shari, Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell and Eve. The channel had nearly 2.3 million subscribers.

As many family channels on YouTube do, 8 Passengers focused on Ruby and Kevin Franke's parenting style, the children's upbringing and discipline as the kids grew up in Utah. The parents, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also shared their children's home schooling.

As of Thursday, the channel was not available on YouTube. YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking when and why the channel had been removed. Forbes reported the channel had been taken down earlier this year.

Kevin Franke referred NBC News to his attorney, Randy Kester, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.NBC News also reached out to Ruby and Kevin Franke's adult children, Shari Frankie and Chad Franke. Shari Franke did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment. Chad Franke could not immediately be reached for comment.

What is the criticism against the Frankes?


Family channels, which typically showcase parents raising their infants, toddlers and young children, have become a contentious part of the YouTube ecosystem in recent years. Some parents have lost custody of children after viewers reported their behavior to the authorities. Others have been scrutinized for exploiting their underage children for views.

Although the Frankes grew a sizable following, the family became the subject of harsh criticisms in recent years, including allegations of child abuse.

Local child protective services were reportedly called in June 2020 after a Change.org petition called on the family to be investigated. The petition cited an example from a now-deleted video that showed then-15-year-old Chad sharing that he'd slept on a bean bag for seven months as a punishment for behavioral issues.

Insider reported at the time that Utah's Division of Child and Family Services visited the Franke household but closed the case due to unsupported claims.

A spokesperson for the division told NBC News in an email Thursday that it could not share information about a case "both past and present, or confirm involvement with a child or family," citing confidentiality and privacy reasons.

230831-Ruby-Franke-Jodi-Hildebrandt-ew-510p-8a354e.jpg Ruby Franke, right, and business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, speaks during an Instagram video posted to their @moms_of_truth account.@moms_of_truth via Instagram

The Frankes have also been criticized for refusing to bring their then-6-year-old daughter lunch at school after she forgot to pack one, threatening to throw away their prized possessions and denying her children personal space.

ConneXions, Jodi Hildebrandt's life coaching service that focuses on parenting and relationships, is also known for its strict teachings on parenting. Some critics have found the lessons to be extreme, including one video in which Ruby Franke and Hildebrandt say a child who refuses to abide by their "principles of truth" does not love unconditionally and may be cut off from their families.

Franke frequently makes videos with Hildebrandt for ConneXions. She is listed as a part of the business team for ConneXions. The ConneXions website describes Franke as a "certified mental fitness trainer" for the organization.

What are the accusations against Franke?


Franke was arrested Wednesday in Utah on aggravated child abuse charges after a malnourished child with open wounds and duct tape on their extremities was found, officials announced. Hildebrandt was arrested on the same charges.

In Utah, aggravated child abuse is defined as an act that "inflicts upon a child serious physical injury" or "causes or permits another to inflict serious physical injury upon a child."

The Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department said in a statement Thursday that evidence led them to a nearby home where a second child was found in similar condition. Both children were taken to a hospital. Four minors were also taken into the care of the Division of Child and Family Services.

What is the response from Franke's family?


Shari Franke, the eldest Franke child, posted an Instagram Story on Wednesday evening saying that it had been a "big day."

"Me and my family are so glad justice is being served," the story said. "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 the "kids are safe, but there's a long road ahead."

Shari Franke previously shared that she was no longer in contact with her immediate family and did not support the "extreme" beliefs of ConneXions, according to Insider.

Elle Mechem, Julie Griffiths Deru and Bonnie Hoellein, three women who say they are Ruby Franke's sisters and who are also family influencers, shared a joint Instagram post saying her arrest "needed to happen."

"For the past 3 years, we have kept quiet on the subject of our sister Ruby Franke for the sake of her children," the post read. "Behind the public scene we have done everything we could to try and make sure the kids were safe."

Mechem, Deru and Hoellein did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
1  sandy-2021492    9 months ago
Shari Franke, the eldest Franke child, posted an Instagram Story on Wednesday evening saying that it had been a "big day." "Me and my family are so glad justice is being served," the story said. "We've been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up."

It seems these people were abusing kids in plain sight.  It is appalling that nothing has been done to stop it until now.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    9 months ago

That is terrible. But I'm glad they were finally arrested

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1    9 months ago

gee, abusing kids for fun and profit. I smell a religious connection...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.2  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @1.1.1    9 months ago
8 Passengers focused on Ruby and Kevin Franke's parenting style, the children's upbringing and discipline as the kids grew up in Utah. The parents, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also shared their children's home schooling.

oops, nevermind...

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
1.1.3  cjcold  replied to  devangelical @1.1.1    9 months ago

Mormons have a long history of systemic child abuse.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.1.4  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  cjcold @1.1.3    9 months ago

What are the documented per capita ratios between Mormons, other beliefs and atheists?

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.5  JBB  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1.4    9 months ago

What is the square root of the hypotomius of a quadrangle?

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.1.6  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JBB @1.1.5    9 months ago

Are you trying to change subjects?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.7  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @1.1.5    9 months ago
hypotomius

WTF is THAT?

Can YOU figure it out?????????

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.8  Texan1211  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1.4    9 months ago
What are the documented per capita ratios between Mormons, other beliefs and atheists?

Come on, you know no one needs proof for those type of claims!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.1.9  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.8    9 months ago

Not the same rigor that they hold other claimants to.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.1.10  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.7    9 months ago
WTF is THAT?

RWI (Replying While Intoxicated)?

 
 
 
GregTx
PhD Guide
1.1.11  GregTx  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1.10    9 months ago

It's not his fault....

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     9 months ago

WTH, it took all this time to find out the kids were being abused. Talk about a blind eye.

 
 
 
Freefaller
Professor Quiet
2.1  Freefaller  replied to  Kavika @2    9 months ago

According to other stuff I've read others knew of the abuse but were hoping somebody else would do something about it.  Hopefully she's gonna spend a lot of time in jail and all her assets seized and used to provide therapy for the children

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Freefaller @2.1    9 months ago

take into account where this took place...

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.1.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  devangelical @2.1.1    9 months ago

Exactly, geography is everything.  You’ll never see this kind of abuse in NYC, Chicago or LA.

 
 
 
Freefaller
Professor Quiet
2.1.3  Freefaller  replied to  devangelical @2.1.1    9 months ago

Unfortunately occurrances like this have happened across America and the world.  It's a shame

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.4  devangelical  replied to  Freefaller @2.1.3    9 months ago

I'm still a little biased, having just returned from a 2.5 week stay in the area. 12 miles from the trumpster nutjob that got blown away by the FBI...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.5  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.4    9 months ago

where the grocery store interiors look like all the local preschools were there on a field trip...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.6  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.4    9 months ago
trumpster nutjob

oops, I meant domestic terrorist...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.7  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.6    9 months ago

... that deserved every bullet.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.8  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.7    9 months ago

... and then some.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.9  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.8    9 months ago

... 2 blocks from his church. LOL...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.10  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.9    9 months ago

his front yard is probably a maga shrine now...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.11  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.10    9 months ago

his picture, some maga paraphernalia, toy guns...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.12  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.11    9 months ago

... a couple stuffed animals with some holes in them.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.13  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.12    9 months ago

an FBI domestic terrorist kill notice taped to the front door...

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3  Vic Eldred    9 months ago

[Deleted]

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
3.1  Hallux  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    9 months ago

... and that type of cynicism is what gives it a bad name. Leaving that aside, glad to see you have changed your avatar ... the one of Kitty Genovese was pushing credulity. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Hallux @3.1    9 months ago

she looked better with a mustache, and a fur bikini...

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Hallux @3.1    9 months ago
the one of Kitty Genovese was pushing credulity. 

That picture, believe it or not, was also A MUGSHOT.

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
3.1.3  Hallux  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1.2    9 months ago

She was arrested for being a lesbian or taking bets for you?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.1.4  devangelical  replied to  Hallux @3.1.3    9 months ago

... running numbers... between pizza parlors...

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1.5  Vic Eldred  replied to  Hallux @3.1.3    9 months ago

It was common for NYC bars to be affiliated with a bookmaker in the early 60's. She simply took the bets and got caught one day. Her brother always wondered where that photo came from. (And when I placed bets there was no middlemen/women involved).

I though you would have known all that being an investigator for that college.... what college was it?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.1.6  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1.5    9 months ago

[removed]

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.1.7  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1.5    9 months ago

[Deleted]

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
4  bbl-1    9 months ago

'Spare the rod, spoil the child'.  I've heard that many times.  The article did not mention any religious instruction.  Was religion a part of the rearing/disciplining process?

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
4.1  Hallux  replied to  bbl-1 @4    9 months ago
'Spare the rod, spoil the child'

1/2 of a pair of bookends, the other being 'spare the fist, spoil the wife'.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5  JohnRussell    9 months ago

Why would anyone want "parenting advice" from some weirdo on You Tube? 

Just because someone knows how to create and promote videos does not make them either an expert or someone to respect. There so many stupid people out there making these scumballs rich. 

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Professor Quiet
5.1  Jack_TX  replied to  JohnRussell @5    9 months ago
Why would anyone want "parenting advice" from some weirdo on You Tube? 

Great question.

Sadly, lots of people are inept parents.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Jack_TX @5.1    9 months ago

no doubt. look who their kids put into office 7 years ago. all the red flags were visible then...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.2  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @5.1.1    8 months ago

funny how the pendulum swung so hard in the opposite direction after the greatest generation.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.3  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @5.1.2    8 months ago

the generation that sacrificed so much for america, sure produced a lot of unamerican scumbags.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
5.1.4  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  devangelical @5.1.3    8 months ago

What are the percentage numbers that you’re seeing?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.5  devangelical  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @5.1.4    8 months ago

look it up yourself...

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.1.6  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @5.1.3    8 months ago

Yeah, what would you have expected from the Jim Crow crowd??

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.7  devangelical  replied to  Texan1211 @5.1.6    8 months ago

you're still 50+ years behind on current events...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.8  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @5.1.7    8 months ago

... and 250 years behind on this country's foundational ideals.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6  devangelical    9 months ago

update: she was arrested in utah and charged with 6 felony counts of aggravated child abuse.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @6    9 months ago

her ex copped 2 charges along with 2 for her media collaborator...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1.1  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @6.1    9 months ago

she's looking at some serious time...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1.2  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @6.1.1    9 months ago

being held without bail...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1.3  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @6.1.2    8 months ago

the kid that escaped is a state witness now...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1.4  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @6.1.3    8 months ago

in the land of fake blonds, straightened teeth, and a church that taxes them 10% to belong...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1.5  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @6.1.4    8 months ago

xtian family values...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1.6  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @6.1.5    8 months ago

... thumper tales of devotion.

 
 

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