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Palisade Paw Post

Family Youtuber Charged with Child Abuse

Emily Hardin
Haley Ammons frowning upon Franke


On August 30th, Ruby Franke, a family vlogger for the YouTube channel 8 Passengers, was arrested and charged with six accounts of child abuse. Ruby Franke is a 41-year-old Mormon mother of six from Ivins Utah, and has been the face of the family YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, which formerly had 2.5 million subscribers. Despite the success and large number of followers, 8 passengers came under scrutiny in 2020 due to their family’s strict parenting techniques. This led many people to believe that she was abusing her children, she denied the allegations before abruptly ending the channel as well as all social media. This included the podcast Connexions which she shared and developed with business partner Jodi Hildebrandt. Hildebrandt was also arrested. Haley Ammons, a student at Palisade High School grew up watching eight passengers and had mixed emotions about the situation. Ammons states, “When I first heard about the arrest, I thought it was really crazy because the Frankes are Mormon and super conservative.” On the morning of the arrest, police reported that a 12-year-old boy escaped from Hildebrandt’s home and appeared at a neighbor’s house, asking for food and water, and was described as emaciated with open wounds and duct tape around the ankles and wrists. When police went to search the house they found other children, and similar physical conditions as well as it scared and timid. At first, Franke and Hildebrandt were charged with two counts of aggravated. Child abuse, however, on September 5, each was charged with six felony counts of child abuse. After the arrest, the eldest daughter Shari Franke who is a junior in college posted on Instagram the arrest, with the caption stating “Finally”.  Later, she spoke out about how this arrest needed to happen, and how she and her other extended family have been trying to contact and tell CPS about the abuse for years, but it never went anywhere. Ammons says, “ I hope all the children receive therapy and end up with their relatives who are capable of providing a safe life for them. I don’t think they should end up in the child care system because that would add to their trauma.” Although there has been a lot of public attention to this case, there are still aspects that are unclear, however, the only thing that matters is that the children are safe now.  

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