All About Ruby Franke: Everything to Know About the Influencer Mom Convicted of Child Abuse

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hilderbrandt were arrested on Aug. 30 after one of Franke's children allegedly sought help from a neighbor

<p>Moms of Truth/ Instagram</p> Ruby Franke

Moms of Truth/ Instagram

Ruby Franke

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect the prison sentences against Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt.

Before her arrest on child abuse charges, Ruby Franke was a vlogger who once had a hugely popular YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, which documented her family’s daily life. However, 8 Passengers and Franke came under scrutiny over the years due to her strict parenting philosophy she used with her six children who she shared with her husband Kevin Franke. The scrutiny led some viewers to speculate if she was abusing her children — allegations she addressed and denied to Insider in 2020.

After the YouTube channel ended, Franke cohosted the ConneXions podcast with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt. But that venture also reportedly generated concern as Franke and Hildebrandt allegedly espoused homophobic, transphobic, racist and ableist rhetoric, according to Insider.

On Aug. 30, according to Utah’s Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department, police were notified that a juvenile — described as appearing “emaciated” with “open wounds and duct tape around the extremities” — went to a neighbor's house asking for food and water. The child, along with another one in "similar physical condition" were transported to a local hospital.

After the discovery, the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department announced the arrest of Franke and Hildebrandt in a press release.

On Feb. 20, both women were sentenced to 4 to 60 years behind bars for child abuse, according to TODAYKSL 5 and KUTV. They both previously pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse.

Under the plea agreement, two more charges of aggravated child abuse for each woman were dropped, Tania Mashburn, a spokeswoman for Utah State Courts, confirmed to PEOPLE. 

Here's everything to know about the mother of six and her and Hildebrandt's convictions.

<p>Moms of Truth/ Instagram</p>

Moms of Truth/ Instagram

Franke's Children Were Reportedly Found at Hildebrandt's Home

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the home the children were found at belonged to Hildebrandt. According to the outlet, Franke's 12-year-old son is the one who allegedly climbed out of a window at Hildebrandt's home and went to a neighbor for help. After being notified of the situation, authorities went to Hildebrandt’s home where they found Franke’s other child, aged 10, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Both Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested in connection with the incident, authorities said. The two were denied bail, per the Salt Lake Tribune, and as of Sept. 4, Franke and Hildebrandt remained in custody, according to online jail records.

Franke's Daughter Has Spoken Out About Her Mother's Arrest

Shari Franke, Ruby Franke’s oldest and estranged daughter, welcomed the news of the arrest. “Today has been a big day," Shari previously wrote on Instagram. "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." Shari also said on Instagram that the two siblings who were taken to the hospital are doing well.

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Ellie Mechem, Julie Griffiths Deru and Bonnie Hoellein, posted an Instagram claiming to be Ruby Franke's sisters and issuing a statement on Aug. 31, explaining that they kept quiet about Franke for the sake of her children. “Behind the public scene, we have done everything we could to try to make sure the kids were safe,” the statement reads.

Related: Family Vlogger Accused of Child Abuse After Malnourished Child Allegedly Asks Neighbor for Help

“Ruby was arrested, which needed to happen," the statement said. "Jodi was arrested, which needed to happen. The kids are now safe, which is the number one priority."

Shari also called on her Instagram followers to report any suspicious comments Franke made on a publicly shared Google Doc. Franke allegedly has made in video clips over the years that included transphobic and ableist comments, and others that discussed withholding food from her kids.

Franke's YouTube Channel Once Had 2.5 Million Subscribers

Per Fox 13, Franke and her husband Kevin Franke are a Mormon couple and parents of six children: Shari, Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell and Eve. In 2015 the couple started the 8 Passengers channel on YouTube that documented the family’s daily life. According to NPR, the most-viewed clips from the channel showed the children’s experiences growing up, such as them trying on clothes and being disciplined.

Related: Daughter of Vlogger Ruby Franke Reacts After Mom's Arrest — 'Finally' — and Wants to Document Alleged Abuse

At the height of its popularity, 8 Passengers had 2.5 million subscribers until it was shut down in 2023, Insider reported.

Some Viewers Raised the Alarms About Alleged Abuse Before Arrest

Despite 8 Passengers' popularity during its run, Franke’s parenting style drew scrutiny and allegations of abuse from viewers.

Following a viewer’s petition to have the Frankes investigated, Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services visited the Frankes’ home and interviewed the children for two hours. According to a DCFS letter reviewed by Insider, the case was dropped due to lack of evidence for the allegations.

In an interview with the same outlet in 2020, Franke explained: "What people aren't understanding is that we give our children choice in everything. We are teaching our children to be self-governing, so it was always very open with our son that he gets to choose how long he's separate from his brother, dependent upon his behavior."

One incident that concerned viewers occurred when the Frankes’ then 6-year-old daughter Eve went to school one day without her lunch, per Insider. In a vlog, Ruby recalled a text message she received from Eve’s teacher, asking whether Ruby could drive over to the school and drop off lunch for her child. Ruby responded: “Eve is responsible for making her own lunches in the morning, so the natural outcome is she is just going to be hungry. And hopefully nobody gives her food and nobody steps in and gives her lunch."

Hildebrandt and Franke Are Business Partners

Following 8 Passengers, Franke launched the ConneXions podcast with Jodi Hildebrandt, a therapist and founder of a self-improvement and empowerment company of the same name.  According to the company’s mission statement on its website: We invite and encourage healing and facilitate personal growth through impeccable honesty, rigorous personal responsibility and humility.”

Per USA Today, viewers described both Franke and Hildebrandt’s philosophy on parenting as extremely strict.

In an April 2023 interview with the Into the Light podcast recorded before her mother’s arrest, Shari Franke explained that her family’s involvement in the ConneXions company was a reason for her estranged relationship, per Insider. She said that they joined ConneXions so they could be “growth-oriented.” However, over time, according to her, ConneXions’ teachings became more extreme.

Neighbors Reportedly Tried to Seek Help for the Children Before the Arrest

In the aftermath of Franke and Hildebrandt’s arrests, two unidentified neighbors of Ruby Franke in Springville, Utah, spoke to NBC News, revealing that some people in the neighborhood earlier contacted the Utah Division of Child and Family Services over concern about the welfare of Franke’s children.

Related: Family Vlogger Ruby Franke Spoke Cryptically About 'Dirty Little Secret' Days Before Arrest: Report

Franke’s neighbors also alleged that she began spending more time away from her home after she got involved with ConneXions. An anonymous source told NBC News that Franke kicked her husband Kevin out of their home last year.

“Everyone is just breathing a collective sigh of relief, because we thought they were going to come out of that house with body bags,” a neighbor told NBC News upon the police’s visit to the Franke’s.

Kevin Franke Files for Divorce

Kevin Franke filed for divorce from his wife in November.

According to court records previously reviewed by PEOPLE, Kevin filed a petition for divorce, which is sealed under Utah law. He also filed was a domestic relations injunction, which orders both Ruby and Kevin not to harass each other or disparage the other in front of their children, according to the court document. 

PEOPLE has reached out to lawyers representing Kevin Franke, but did not hear back.

Ruby Franke Pleads Guilty

Ruby Franke pleaded guilty to four counts of child abuse in December, The New York Times reported.

As part of a plea deal, Franke pleaded to four counts, rather than the six she was initially charged with, according to the outlet, which cited prosecutors. Hilderbrandt also pled guilty to four charges of aggravated child abuse.

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hilderbrandt Sentenced to Prison

On Feb. 20, Ruby received four separate prison sentences for 1 to 15 years, which will run consecutively, according to TODAYKSL 5 and KUTV.

Franke's ex-business partner Jodi Hildebrandt was also received the same sentence, according to the outlets. However, the women will not serve more than 30 years due to a Utah law regarding consecutive sentences, Business Insider reports.

In court, Franke cried and apologized to her children and said she was "deceived," according to Business Insider.

"I will never stop crying for hurting your tender souls," she said, per the outlet.

Hildebrandt also apologized at her sentence following Franke's and said she loved Franke's children, according to TODAY.

"I desire for them to heal physically and emotionally," she said, the outlet reported.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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