The neighbors of recently-arrested YouTube family vlogger Ruby Franke were reportedly not surprised to see her Utah home swarmed by police. Some were just happy that the authorities weren’t pulling bodies from the house.
Ms Franke, a 41-year-old mother-of-six, was arrested this week and charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse after one of her sons escaped her home and sought help. The child, aged 12, was reportedly suffering from malnutrition and had evidence of duct tape on his limbs and lacerations from being restrained, according to police. When officers arrived at the home, they found another child in a similar condition.
Ms Franke became popular online for her “8 Passengers” family YouTube channel, which had 2.5 million subscribers at its peak. She eventually partnered with fellow family influencer, Jodi Hildebrant, joining her “Connexions” life counseling service. Both Ms Franke and Ms Hildebrant have been charged with six felony counts of aggravated child abuse. Ms Franke was arrested on 30 August.
Neighbors said that Ms Franke frequently butted into their lives. They also accused Ms Franke of punishing her children by withholding food as a punishment. She also allegedly cancelled the children’s Christmas one year. Despite the extreme control she seemed to want to exert over her children, neighbors said that she would regularly disappear for weeks at a time, leaving the children home alone.
Her youngest daughter, Eve, aged 10, would allegedly be left to wander the neighborhood to look for friends. Police reportedly found a 10-year-old girl malnourished and suffering similar restraint lacerations as the 12-year-old who escaped.
Neighbors said they tried to get police to intervene but that past welfare checks were rejected by Ms Franke. The family vlogger gained notoriety for the severity of the punishments she would dole out to her children.