Who Is Ruby Franke? YouTuber Who Uploaded Disturbing Videos Of Her Family Was Arrested On Child Abuse Charges

Ruby Franke, the infamous mom behind the family YouTube channel "8 Passengers," was arrested for aggregated child abuse – here’s everything you need to know.

By Nicole Dominique4 min read
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Don’t be fooled by the sweet family photos you see on social media. Ruby Franke, the woman behind the YouTube channel "8 Passengers," and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were arrested for six felony counts of child abuse. "8 Passengers" – centered around the Franke family and Ruby’s parenting – was launched in 2015 and has accumulated over two million followers on YouTube. The surprising announcement comes after Ruby went viral this year for refusing to bring her 6 year old's lunch to school. 

In the resurfaced and now-defunct video, Ruby says she received a text from her daughter's teacher informing her that she had nothing to eat for lunch. The mom shockingly admitted that she got these texts "from time to time" but refused to do anything about it – because it wouldn't teach her daughter anything. Again, her child was only 6 years old at the time. This should give you some idea of how the Utah-based mom treated her own kids. "The natural outcome is that she is just going to have to go hungry," Ruby said.

"My hope is she will be hungry and come home and be like, 'That was really painful being hungry all day. I'll make sure to always have a lunch with me,'" she added. Many noticed how Ruby’s “parenting” style suggested she was abusing her children, and years after these speculations, it appears that justice may finally be served.

Ruby Franke Is Arrested 

Franke's malnourished 12-year-old son, Russell, bravely escaped from Jodi Hildebrant’s house with open wounds and duct tape on his wrists and ankles. He sought help from the neighbors, asking for food and water. Following the neighbor's call to the police, officials discovered Ruby’s 10-year-old daughter, Eve, in Hildebrant’s home 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 showed shocking evidence “consistent with the markings” found on Russell. The Utah Division of Child and Family Services was contacted, and the rest of the four children (Julie, Abby, Shari, and Chad) were placed in protective custody. According to sources, Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested and have remained in custody since then.

A judge denied bail for both individuals on August 31, citing the severity of the injuries inflicted on Franke's two children. Franke's eldest daughter, Shari, expressed her relief, thanked authorities for taking action, and shared an image of police officials on her Story with the caption, “Finally.” 

Who Is Jodi Hildebrant? 

The residence belonged to Jodi Hildebrandt, a life coach and therapist who owns the counseling service "ConneXions." She and Ruby had a joint YouTube channel for the company, and the two offered advice on relationships advertised as a "mom's support group." The audacity is astonishing.

Days before Ruby's son escaped, Hildebrandt uploaded a video admitting she should not be trusted. "I won't trust myself, and you should not trust me either because I don't have any problem lying to you," she said. "I don't have any problem dropping responsibility, which is also deception."

NBC News reports that neighbors claimed Franke became increasingly absent from her home after getting involved with ConneXions, and that some of them had sought intervention from authorities for over a year and alerted the Utah Division of Child and Family Services. They felt frustrated that no immediate action was taken to protect the children.

“I’m really angry, because I spoke up. Other people spoke up,” a female neighbor said. “And nothing happened.” Despite her efforts to save the kids, no one answered the door when officers visited the Franke residence. Officials left, and papers were later put up on the windows of the home. Why didn't the child protection officials do anything despite all of the telling videos that Ruby uploaded?

"I’m really angry, because I spoke up. Other people spoke up."

“I want those kids to know that the community loves them and wants them to be safe,” she said tearfully. “If people knew the amount of tears and time spent talking with law enforcement and CPS over the last year – I want people to understand that. And I want those kids to know that, because I think they thought they were abandoned.”

Is ConneXion a Cult?

The eerie reviews for ConneXions were unearthed following the news, and it sounds like some brainwashing was occurring. Is it possible the company operated like a cult?

"I wouldn’t trust this company. They use brainwashing tactics to manipulate you, they intentionally make you feel bad about yourself and use slander. Please stay away from this company at all costs. They are a scam," a woman named Anna Marie alleged.

"They use brainwashing tactics to manipulate you."

Another reportedly wrote, "They will ruin your family through mind control. They don’t want you to think for yourself and critically think. They want to shelter you. They are an actual cult. AN ACTUAL CULT. They also assaulted me so I’m suing."

Who Is Ruby Franke’s Husband, Kevin Franke?

Ruby’s husband, Kevin Franke, frequently appeared in the "8 Passengers" YouTube videos. At this time, he is not facing abuse charges and will be taking care of his kids. His attorney, Randy S. Kester, informed Page Six that the father's "urgent focus is simply to keep his children together under his fatherly care."

When asked if Kevin had plans to divorce his wife, Kester said he was “not at liberty to respond about the topic of divorce.” The father of six was also recently spotted outside the Franke residence in Utah.

The Disturbing "8 Passengers" Videos 

Many have reuploaded "8 Passengers" videos to TikTok after they were removed from YouTube. Some of them are incredibly disheartening, to say the least. In one clip, Russell gets in trouble for leaving his socks in the yard. Ruby coerces him to drop to the ground and do 10 push-ups.

Other videos show Ruby scolding her daughter and telling her she won’t get breakfast if she doesn’t listen. 

The mom has also openly admitted in the past that she’d starve her kids as punishment and reportedly denied them food if they didn’t complete their chores or follow her rules.

Ruby Franke’s Sister Speak Up

Ruby's two sisters – Ellie Mecham and Julie Griffiths Deru – have spoken out about her arrest, stating that it “needed to happen” and the Franke children are now safe. In a joint statement on Instagram, the sisters revealed that they had done everything they could behind the scenes to ensure the safety of Ruby’s kids. “For the last 3 years we have kept quiet on the subject of our sister Ruby Franke for the sake of her children,” the post on their Instagram pages read. “Behind the public scene we have done everything we could to try and make sure the kids were safe.”

It continued, "We wouldn't feel right about moving forward with regular content without addressing the most recent events. Once we do, we will not be commenting on it further. Ruby was arrested which needed to happen. Jodi was arrested which needed to happen. The kids are now safe, which is the number one priority."

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