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YouTube to Reality

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2TDH2F5 This image from video shows Ruby Franke during a hearing Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in St. George, Utah. Franke, a Utah mother of six who gave parenting advice via a once-popular YouTube channel called 8 Passengers has pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse for abusing and starving two of her children. (Ron Chaffin/St. George News via AP, Pool)

On August 30, 2023, YouTube family vlogger, Ruby Franke was taken into custody by St. George police. Ruby Franke and her “business partner” Jodi Hildebreant became an internet sensation after going viral on tiktok for their joint podcast, “ConneXions”. This podcast was targeted towards parents as a way to provide parenting advice. 

Ruby Frankes 12 year old son, Russell Franke, ran away from accomplice, Hildebrant’s southern Utah home on the 30 of August, 2023. 

Russell sought help from Hildebrant’s nearest neighbor, ankles clad in duct tape and covered in marks. The Neighbor called the police immediately and Ruby Franke got arrested right alongside her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, that same day.

Both abusers were arrested for aggravated child abuse on Rubys two youngest children. Her nine year old daughter was physically harmed alongside her 12 year old brother. Hildebrandt and Ruby both told her she had to jump into a cactus multiple times, walk barefoot on multiple dirt roads and they kept her isolated from people like her family and friends. Ruby’s children would also have to go without water or food for extended periods of time.

Ruby Franke justified her actions by telling her son that this abuse was an act of love. Jodi Hildebrandt had tied up Russell and would put homemade remedies on the wounds that consisted of cayenne pepper and honey. He also had to work outside for a long time with no shoes and with scalding temperatures;ending in severe sunburns.

They were both sentenced one to 15 year prison terms for each count of child  abuse on Tuesday, February 13th 2024. She also pleaded guilty and admitted to everything she did to her son and daughter. Ruby said, “ She had been led to believe that this world is an evil place and that Hildebrandt had never been her “business responsibility,” but that she had paid the other woman to be her mentor.”   

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