Ruby Franke – the disgraced mother-of-six behind the popular YouTube channel "8 Passengers" – and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt have been arrested on six felony counts of child abuse. "8 Passengers," which centers around the Franke family and Ruby's parenting, has garnered over two million followers on YouTube.
Regardless of how big Franke's following was, many of her family vlogs were off-putting to many. In some of her videos, Franke would withhold food from her kids if they didn't complete their chores or listen to her. In one clip, her youngest son, Russell, asks for breakfast – which he's denied.
This entire situation took a darker turn when Russell, 12, escaped from Jodi Hildebrandt's residence with open wounds and duct tape on his wrists and ankles. He sought help and asked for food and water from his neighbors, who alerted the authorities. The police discovered Ruby's 10-year-old daughter, Eve, in a similar state. Both children were taken to a hospital, with the young boy being placed on a medical hold due to his severe injuries and malnourishment.
A search of Hildebrandt's home revealed evidence consistent with the injuries found on Russell. The Utah Division of Child and Family Services intervened, placing Ruby and Hildebrandt under arrest.
Jodi Hildebrandt and Ruby Franke’s Relationship
Hildebrandt, who owns a counseling service called "ConneXions," had a joint YouTube channel with Franke where they'd offer advice on relationships. Some individuals following this story, however, believe that there was more going on between them.
These rumors were fueled after one of Hildebrandt's alleged victims, Adam Paul Steed, claimed that his ex-wife and the therapist had an "inappropriate relationship." @jahlen.tjohnson (Jahlen) made a video about these speculations, garnering one million views and over 100,000 likes.
"Hello Facebook," wrote Steed on Facebook. "Years ago I was recently married and with two small babies attending BYU. I had just changed the statute of limitations in Idaho (for child abuse, allowing victims to come forward) where I spoke with the governor at a press conference as he signed the new laws. Then I moved to Utah."
He continued, "I moved to the married housing and joined a married ward at Y Mount Terrace. The same apartments I was born in. I was a premed student and an international relations student in the honors program finishing my Jr year. Then a catastrophe struck."
Within months, Steed became single and was barred from seeing his children. He was kicked out of school and was no longer allowed to go to the temple. He was "deemed unworthy and treated like a danger."
He added, "At one point I was arrested and in jail for 14 days with four felony charges against me. My court fees were about $200,000. Almost all in the civil divorce court. I was ordered to take a lie detector test and a psychosexual test. And I had a 500 page rapsheet at the BYU honor code office. Ya, pretty much I was treated like a perpetrator of children, or women, and of men, but the only problem was this isn't how people are in real life and there were no victims, there was no crime or intention for one. I had crossed paths with the wrong people."
Then, a catastrophe struck.
Nine months before Steed's life appeared to go downhill, he and his ex-wife had finished a settlement with Boy Scouts of America. Due to the stress imposed by the court case, they were encouraged to take marriage counseling. "So my bishop told me to go to Jodi Hildebrandt," he added. "My then wife and I did. That was the single most destructive decision I had made in my life."
Steed described Hildebrandt as "charismatic" in his post, and suggested that "high-up church leaders" were watching him closely because he was a whistleblower. He claims that Hildebrandt is "deeply embedded in the Mormon church with some leadership" and is the cause of his divorce. Hildebrandt reportedly defamed him by "spreading false information" to his bishop and to the BYU honor code office.
"She had secret meetings with high up Mormon leaders who suppressed the child abuse in BSA in South East Idaho," Steed explained. "This charismatic lady basically convinced many people that I was super dangerous in response to me refusing the $2000 a month counseling, and asking questions in therapy group sessions that increasingly broke the cult."
"She totally violated the doctor patient privacy rules, and simultaneously started having a completely inappropriate relationship with my ex wife, and she took huge amounts of money from us." Steed added that Utah Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL) charged Hildebrandt with having a "dual relationship" with his ex-wife, but that by that time, the "damage was done."
"Today at like 5 am I woke up and read the news. I wasn't shocked and I can't tell you the flood of emotions I've had today seeing that this woman has been arrested for aggravated child abuse along with Ruby Franke from 8 Passengers," he said. Steed's heartbreaking testimony led TikTokers to the conclusion that Hildebrandt likely had an "inappropriate" relationship with Franke as well.
"I've never watched this family I've only seen clips but I thought they were a couple from the few I've seen," a girl named Gia wrote.
@Missbliss2618 added, "I knew something was going on!!"
"It just keeps getting worse and worse," read one comment.
Hildebrandt and Franke have videos discussing their "deception" and "dirty little secret." It's intriguing how narcissists unintentionally drop hints about their wrongdoings. It's like they can't help but draw attention to themselves. The longer they try to conceal who they are, the more impossible it is for them to hide their true selves. We don't know exactly if both Hildebrandt and Franke were romantically involved, but in the end, none of that matters – what matters is that Franke's children are finally safe, and hopefully, justice gets served.
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