Ruby Franke, the family vlogger behind the now-defunct YouTube channel 8 Passengers, has been formally charged with six counts of child abuse by a Washington County attorney in Utah, court documents show.
Franke and his business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, were arrested last week after Franke’s 12-year-old son climbed out of a window and ran to a neighbor’s house asking for food and water. ‘water.
The neighbor, noticing duct tape around the child’s ankles and wrists, called the police. The responding officer said the child appeared severely malnourished and had suffered “deep lacerations” after being tied up with a rope.
When police searched Hildebrandt’s home, they found Franke’s 10-year-old daughter in a similar condition and took both children to hospital for malnutrition. In total, the four Franke children still living at home have been taken into the care of Utah Child and Family Services. Her other two children are adults.
Hildebrandt was also charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse.
A local attorney representing Franke did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment. Court documents do not mention Hildebrandt’s legal representation.
Hildebrandt and Franke were still in custody Wednesday, according to records from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Both men are due to appear before the same judge on Friday.
Franke shot to national fame with the launch of her YouTube channel in 2015. At its peak, 8 Passengers garnered nearly 2.3 million subscribers who followed as Franke documented her life as a mother of six. and wife of her husband, Kevin.
The chain was shut down earlier this year amid a growing chorus of criticism over Franke’s strict parenting tactics, which included the threat of takeout.
In recent weeks, Franke has collaborated with Hildebrandt on ConneXions, a mental health counseling service that has also come under fire for parenting advice, including shame-based learning and avoidance of those who don’t share your values.