NewsLocal News


Concerns raised over '8 Passengers' mother leaving children home alone for days in 2022

Posted at 12:11 PM, Sep 06, 2023

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — Days after Utah mother and social media star Ruby Franke was arrested for child abuse, YouTube has terminated her popular channels.

YouTube officials confirmed that they had removed Franke's two channels in accordance to company guidelines.

"If a channel owner is accused with clear evidence of a very egregious crime, we may terminate their channel if its content is closely related to the crime or if the channel owner was convicted or pled guilty," the company said.

In addition, Franke will no longer be able to use, own, or create any other channels on the site.

"If we’re made aware of a channel that is reuploading content from a previously terminated channel, we may remove that content or terminate the new channel if it’s dedicated to reuploads," added YouTube.

Franke was formally charged with six counts of felony child abuse after a child climbed out of a window of a southern Utah residence and ran to a neighbors home for food and water. When the neighbor noticed duct tape around the child's hands and ankles, they called police.

Police investigated and found "severe" wounds, neglect and malnourishment of the child. They also found another child who had injuries consistent with abuse.

A police report from 2022 reveals that neighbors and family raised concerns over the children last year.

Documents obtained by FOX 13 News detail that in September 2022, Franke's oldest daughter, Shari Franke, called police over concerns that her sisters and brother had been left alone for days while their mother was in St. George with a friend.

Shari told police that a neighbor who lived in the area said the children had been alone for about five days, a police report says.

Police were requested to conduct a welfare check on the children and "make sure they were safe and had food for the extended period," documents state.

When officers arrived, they saw the children through the windows of the home. The children would not answer the door and instead ran upstairs and out of sight as police tried to make contact with them, the police report states.

As police were in the area, neighbors started gathering outside and expressed concern over the children's well-being, saying Ruby Franke would often leave "for extended periods of time and go to St. George to spend time with her friend Jodi Hildebrandt," documents state.

The neighbors told police they had video proof that Franke had been gone for five days through surveillance cameras located on their own properties.

Documents explain that the neighbors were very concerned due to two of the children being homeschooled, which meant they were "home alone during the day by themselves and there [wasn't] any way for them to contact emergency services if needed, due to them not having phones and a landline not being available in the home."

Jodi Hildebrandt was also charged with six counts of felony child abuse.

Franke and Hildebrandt are being held without bail in the Washington County Jail ahead of their first court appearance, scheduled on Friday.