Notorious family Vlogger charged with six counts of felony child abuse

JUSTICE IS SERVED: Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt are under arrest for child abuse charges. (Medium)

Jenna Forss | Arts & Entertainment Editor

September 13, 2023

Family Vloggers have been accused of invading their children’s privacy in order to receive more views, but a Mormon family channel, 8 Passengers, is facing much more serious allegations. 

On August 30, 2023, a 12-year-old boy knocked on the door of a house in Ivins, Utah. He appeared clearly malnourished, with his wrists and ankles duct-taped together. He had other various wounds scattered across his body, along with other hints of physical restraint. The young boy, Russell, claimed to have climbed out of the window of the neighboring house to ask the people for food and water. Later, his younger 10-year-old sister was taken out of the house, and was also found to be malnourished. 

This radical event resulted in the necessary arrest of the main culprit of the abuse – the children’s own mother, Ruby Franke. The creator and manager of the 8 Passengers YouTube channel is now charged with six counts of felony child abuse. The owner of the house Russell escaped from, Jodie Hildebrandt, was also arrested on account of child abuse.

Looking back on the 8 Passengers YouTube channel it is sad to see how obviously preventable this bleak outcome was.

The 8 Passengers channel has been deleted by YouTube itself, but various news sources have been digging up clips that showcase Ruby’s abuse.

HIDDEN SECRETS: This seemingly normal l family hid deeper and darker secrets than any of their followers could have ever imagined. (IMDb)

One of the most notorious signs of abuse publicized on the 8 Passengers channel was Ruby’s eldest son, Chad, having his “bedroom privileges” taken away for seven weeks because he played a silly prank on his brother. The whole family is seen crowding around the camera -even Ruby- giggling about when Chad told his younger brother they were going to Disneyland, even though they were not. Chad ended up losing his bed and all privacy in the house for the next seven weeks. Ruby is even quoted in a different video saying, “In this home, you don’t get personal space because this is my space. Because I am the parent. If you want your own personal space you will need to get your own personal space.” 

It is clear that Ruby’s abuse originates from her unhealthy obsession with control. To satiate this need, it appears that she would take control in her children’s lives by taking away basic necessities – especially food.

On multiple occasions, Ruby is seen confessing that she neglects to feed her kids when they break the rules, and is her main form of punishment. She stated in a Vlog that she would not feed her kids until they did their chores, even after they told her that they were starving. Ruby also confessed that she hoped that her six-year-old daughter Eve would not receive any food from her teachers or friends at school after young Eve forgot to pack her lunch because “she needed to learn her lesson.”

These are only a few of the very many examples of Ruby Franke’s longstanding record of abuse. All of these examples have been out in the open for the whole internet to see for many years. Senior Mia Smith stated “It’s crazy that it [Ruby’s abuse] has been obvious for so long but the police just started doing something about it.” Ruby is finally being put on trial, but it is important to remember that these children could have been saved from this family if only some sort of authority had stepped in sooner. 

Ruby’s six counts of felony child abuse could cost her a possible 90 years in prison. Senior Kendall Northrup believed that she “should serve her full sentence” due to the severity of her crimes and to keep her children safely away from her. 

Ruby Franke is due in court this Friday, September 15 – so we can only hope that justice will be officially served.

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