EXCLUSIVE: YouTuber mom Ruby Franke’s husband is seen at Utah house of horrors where she is accused of abusing her two children
- Disturbing details emerged that reveal how Ruby and Kevin Franke’s children were allegedly subjected to strenuous chores, during scorching temperatures
- Kevin Franke is married to Ruby Franke, who managed the 8 Passengers YouTube channel: Ruby and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, were both arrested
- Their arrests on two counts of aggravated child abuse came after troubled neighbors expressed concerns for the children’s well-being
The husband of a Mormon YouTuber, who was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of abusing two of her six children, was seen pacing around outside the Utah family home on Saturday – as neighbors spoke out about their fears for their children’s safety.
Ruby Franke, 41, was arrested on two counts of aggravated child abuse on Wednesday along with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt after two of her malnourished kids were found starved with open wounds and wrapped in duct tape.
Franke gained fame online through her YouTube channel 8 Passengers and had 2.2 million subscribers before she stopped posting in January 2022.
Ruby’s husband, who she shares six children with – Shari, Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell and Eve – was seen at the property on Saturday as a man came to remove the YouTube branding from the van parked outside.
Neighbors told the DailyMail.com they had been concerned about the children’s wellbeing, and once saw the kids left outside pulling weeds for hours during triple digit temperatures.
DailyMail.com spoke to one of Hildebrandt’s neighbor’s whose home is also in the Kayenta Community located at the base of the Red Mountains in Ivins, Utah.
They recalled seeing Franke’s ‘8Passengers’ van regularly parked in front of the home at the time.
‘One thing we noticed and we told the police the same thing, six to eight weeks ago when it was really hot I was outside in the late morning, afternoon pulling weeds and over at Jodi’s home several kids were also outside her home pulling weeds.
‘Over the course of the day the temperature was over 100 degrees and I gave up after a while because it was so hot but I noticed that the kids stayed out there,’ the neighbor explained.
The resident also noted how they never heard any sounds coming from the home such as those of children playing outside, which they thought was unusual.
On one day a child is thought to have escaped through the window of a home, before running to a neighbor who then called the police.
The neighbor said they believed the child picked that particular home after they had been given cookies by them at Christmas time and knew them to be friendly and ‘safe enough to go to them for help.’
Both Franke and Hildebrandt have been previously criticized for their teachings on parenting – collaborating on Hildebrandt’s life counseling service ConneXions.
‘Everyone is just breathing a collective sigh of relief because we thought they were going to come out of that house with body bags,’ another neighbor said to NBC News following the arrest.
The Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department in Utah arrested Franke and Hildebrandt after a report of a juvenile in need at 10.50am on Wednesday.
Authorities said the child was described as ’emaciated and malnourished, with open wounds and duct tape around their extremities’ and was asking for food and water.
Neighbors said they had been in contact with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services in the past.
‘I remember that she took away their Christmas one year and she would say things like “They’re not repenting correctly,” which is a Mormon term for ‘they’re sinning.’ Just complete insanity,’ a male neighbor explained.
The local residents also told how Franke would interfere in the lives of her neighbors.
One recalled an incident where Franke lectured a neighbor over what she deemed to be ‘inappropriate’ posters of women posing in shorts that were on display in a garage.
Kevin Franke is believed to have been kicked out of the family home last year.
He said earlier this week that he is ‘trying to keep his children together’ following the arrests.
Kevin’s attorney, Randy S.Kester, told Page Six his client’s ‘urgent focus is simply to keep his children together under his fatherly care’.
Four minor children were taken into the care of Child and Family Services following the police’s investigation. It is unconfirmed if the children were related to either Franke or Hildebrandt.
Once Kevin had departed the family home, one neighbor said it appeared the children stopped going to school with one of the daughters knocking on the doors of other homes in the neighborhood that had kids.
‘She would just knock on your door and say, “Hi, can your kids play?” And we’re like, “Well, they’re at school. They won’t be home for three or four hours.” And she’d be like, “I’ll wait.” She’s like this lost child,’ the neighbor recounted.
‘I’m really angry because I spoke up. Other people spoke up, and nothing happened, another (female) neighbor explained.
‘I want those kids to know that the community loves them and wants them to be safe,’ she said.
‘If people knew the amount of tears and time spent talking with law enforcement and CPS over the last year — I want people to understand that. And I want those kids to know that because I think they thought they were abandoned.’
In a statement the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department said: ‘The condition of the juvenile was so severe that they were seen by Santa Clara-Irvins EMS and transported to a local area hospital.
‘Information was obtained by police that other juveniles in similar condition may be in a nearby home.
‘Officers arrived at the home and searched the residence, locating another juvenile in a similar physical condition of malnourishment.
‘They were also transported by EMS for hospital treatment’. Cops said ‘evidence consistent with the markings found on the juvenile’ was located in the home.
Four minor children were taken into the care of Child and Family Services following the investigation. It is unconfirmed if the children were related to either woman.
Both Franke and Hildebrandt remain in custody at the Washington County Sheriff’s Department as of Saturday evening and are facing two felony aggravated child abuse charges.
Two children were taken to a hospital in St. George, Utah, about 255 miles southwest of Springville, officials said.
Franke is well-known for her strict parenting style on the channel, which she stopped uploading footage to in January 2022. It was taken down earlier this year.
When asked why she left YouTube behind months later on ConneXions, she said she opted to stop uploading videos because she wanted to ‘save her kids.’
She said her children were ‘being hurt’ by the constant ‘advice’ they were receiving from their immense following.
‘I don’t care what the world’s opinion is, this is the truth and this is where I stand,’ she added.
Franke racked up more than 2.2million subscribers for documenting their day-to-day endeavors on social media, with her husband Kevin.
The mother-of-six came under fire in July after footage resurfaced of her allowing her daughter Eve, 6, to go hungry because she forgot to make her own lunch.
In a video posted to YouTube in February 2020, Ruby explained that she had received a text from her daughter’s teacher, telling her that the youngster didn’t have anything to eat for lunch.
She said all her kids are responsible for preparing their own lunches in the morning, so she would not be dropping off any food for Eve because she wanted to teach her a lesson.
Franke said: ‘My hope [is that] she will be hungry and come home and be like ‘that was really painful being hungry all day I’ll make sure to always have a lunch with me.”
‘The natural outcome is that she is just going to have to go hungry.’
Franke’s strict parenting style has faced a repeated backlash since she started the channel in 2015.
Viewers called child protective services in 2020 after their son Chad, 15, claimed that he had slept on a bean bag for seven months.
She also threatened to bin her children’s items if they didn’t pay her cash for them, claiming it was a lesson in understanding the value of their things.
Her eldest daughter Shari, 20, posted about her mother’s arrest on Instagram, sharing an image of police officers outside the home captioned ‘Finally.’
She added: ‘Today has been a big day. Me and my family are so glad justice is being served.
‘We’ve been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up.
‘Kids are safe, but there’s a long road ahead. Please keep them in your prayers and also respect their privacy.’
Shari, who broke contact with her family in April, also asked for anyone with access to ‘any questionable or concerning ConneXions or 8Passengers videos’ with her.
In Utah, an act that ‘inflicts upon a child serious physical injury’ or ’causes or permits another to inflict serious physical injury upon a child.