IVINS, Utah (TCD) — A woman with a parenting YouTube channel and her business partner were arrested on child abuse charges after one of the vlogger’s children escaped and called for help.
According to the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, at just before 11 a.m., someone called 911 to report a juvenile who sought help and “appeared to be emaciated and malnourished.” The caller said the child had “open wounds and duct tape around the extremities” and was asking for food and water.
EMS arrived and transported the child to a nearby hospital due to the victim’s “severe” condition.
Police learned there were likely other children in a similar situation, so they went to a home and found another victim who looked malnourished. That child was also transported to a hospital. According to the statement, investigators reportedly located evidence matching some of the injuries found on one of the children. As a result, four other children were removed from the home and placed into custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.
Police arrested Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt, and KSL.com reports they were each charged with six counts of child abuse.
According to the arrest affidavit cited by KSL.com, Franke’s 12-year-old son climbed out of a window at Hildebrant’s house and ran to a neighbor for help. His wrists and ankles were reportedly bound with duct tape. The affidavit says the boy was “placed on a medical hold due to his deep lacerations from being tied up with rope and from his malnourishment.”
Franke is reportedly the mother of the two children who were hospitalized, and police allege Franke had “knowledge of the abuse, malnourishment and neglect.”
Franke started a YouTube channel in 2015, which grew to over 2 million subscribers, though there was controversy about Franke and her husband’s strict parenting rules. The channel was taken off the site earlier this year.
On her website, Hildebrandt describes herself as a “mental fitness and relationship expert.”
Hildebrandt and Franke had their own YouTube channel called “Moms of Truth with Jodi & Ruby,” and they posted many of those clips on Instagram.
KSL.com reports one of Franke’s daughters wrote on Instagram she was “glad justice is being served” and that she has been trying to contact Child Protective Services and police “for years.”
Franke and Hildebrandt are reportedly being held without bail.
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