Sisters and neighbors rally behind Ruby Franke following shocking child abuse charges

17:13 02.09.2023

YouTuber Ruby Franke, known for her family channel "8 Passengers," was arrested in Springville, Utah, this week on child abuse charges. The arrest came as a shock to some, but neighbors in Franke's close-knit community had long been concerned about the safety of her children. In a video shared with NBC News, law enforcement officers can be seen surrounding Franke's home with guns drawn, and at least seven police vehicles are visible lining the street. A photo provided by a neighbor shows a hole in the front door of the home.

Neighbors described Franke as someone who would insert herself into others' lives and had previously given a sermon-like lecture to a neighbor about inappropriate posters of women posing in shorts displayed in a garage. It was also revealed that Franke had kicked her husband, Kevin, out of the home last year. Franke's neighbors accused her of withholding food from her children as a punishment, a behavior that was also seen on her YouTube channel. They claimed that after her husband left, Franke would leave the house for weeks at a time, leaving the children inside.

One disturbing detail shared by a male neighbor was that Franke took away her children's Christmas one year because she believed they were not repenting correctly. He described Franke's youngest daughter, Eve, wandering the neighborhood while her mother was away, looking for companionship. Neighbors said it did not seem like Eve was attending school.

Franke's arrest came after authorities found two children malnourished, with open wounds and duct tape on their extremities. They were taken to a hospital in St. George, Utah. Franke's business partner and collaborator, Jodi Hildebrandt, was also arrested on the same charges. Both women are facing two felony aggravated child abuse charges.

Franke's sisters, Bonnie Hoellein, Julie Griffiths Deru, and Ellie Mecham, who are also social media personalities, have spoken out about the arrest. In a YouTube video titled "My Statement on My Sister Ruby Franke," Hoellein expressed her relief that her nieces and nephews are now safe. She and her sisters have been on the same page about Franke's arrest and have done everything they could legally to ensure the safety of the children. Mecham also posted a statement on Instagram, stating that the family had kept quiet on the subject of Franke for the sake of her children.

Neighbors in the community had previously tried to get authorities to intervene, with one neighbor making an initial call to Child Protective Services in September 2022. However, no action was taken at the time. The female neighbor expressed her anger and sadness that despite their efforts, nothing happened to protect the children. She hopes that Franke's children know that the community loves them and wanted them to be safe.

The case has raised questions about the teachings of the life counseling service ConneXions, with which Franke and Hildebrandt were involved. The organization has been criticized online for its parenting methods, which prioritize the organization's "principles of truth" over a person's children. Both Franke and Hildebrandt have not responded to requests for comment, and it is unclear if they have retained attorneys. The investigation is ongoing, and authorities are expected to provide updates as more information becomes available.

/ Saturday, September 2, 2023, 5:13 PM /

themes:  Christmas  Utah

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