Ruby Franke, known for her family-friendly YouTube channel 8 Passengers, was arrested on Wednesday in Utah. Franke allegedly starved her children to the extent that one child climbed out of a window, ran to a neighbor’s house, and asked for food and water. The child appeared malnourished and had duct tape on all of her extremities. She was also covered in deep lacerations due to rope and duct tape. Local police released she will be charged with two counts of second-degree aggravated child abuse. The party who called in the report said the child “appeared to be emaciated and malnourished, with open wounds and duct tape around the extremities,” Santa Clara-Irvine Public Safety Department posted in a press release.
Clara-Irvine Emergency Medical Services were dispatched to the location of the incident to check the child before transportation to a medical center due to her severe condition. Police on scene were notified by the 12-year-old girl that her 10-year-old sister was in similar condition at home.
A close business partner of Franke, Jodi Hildebrandt, was arrested for alleged child abuse six hours prior to Franke’s arrest.
8 Passengers was a popular channel run by Franke and her husband Kevin Franke, where they would share their lifestyle with their six children. Franke was known for her overly strict parenting styles and was reported to CPS various times. The family was in the middle of a child abuse investigation after a now deleted video was posted. The video shared that Franke’s 15-year-old son was forced to sleep on the floor in the living room for seven months as punishment for a harmless prank he did to his younger brother.
Multiple TikTokers had channels dedicated to clips from 8 Passenger, spreading awareness of the abuse. The family was open about what took place in the home. Franke would often post humiliating videos making her children apologize for things such as their weight. She also posted an explanation to why her children were not allowed to eat and other inhumane things she used as punishments.
Franke’s estranged daughter, 20-year-old Sheri, posted a picture of police cars in front of her home on her Instagram story captioned “finally.” She uploaded an additional post stating, “today has been a big day. Me and my family are so glad justice is being served.” She continued, “we’ve been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up.”
Sheri has requested followers send her a link of any questionable or abusive posts made by Franke in order to build more evidence in this case. Followers have stated that they believe the Feds came to arrest Franke due to the amount of solid evidence they have to sentence her for a long time.
As the news of the arrest floods TikTok and other social media platforms like Reddit, comments of said videos and shares are being flooded with statements of celebration that the mother was finally arrested.