Ruby Franke, a YouTuber who gained online notoriety with her tough and often controversial parenting advice, has been formally charged with six counts of felony child abuse in Washington County, Utah.
The mother of six was arrested last week after her 12-year-old son escaped through a window and ran to a neighbor’s home pleading for food and water, according to authorities.
The boy was severely malnourished and had “deep lacerations from being tied up with rope and from his malnourishment,” according to court documents filed by law enforcement. Authorities said they also found Franke’s 10-year-old malnourished daughter inside the home and allege Franke “had knowledge” of their conditions.
Franke’s business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, was also arrested and charged with six counts of felony child abuse. Authorities allege the 12-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl were under Hildebrandt’s “direct care” at her home when the incidents occurred last week.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Randy Kester, the attorney for Ruby’s husband, Kevin Franke, said that Kevin had been separated from his wife for more than a year and denies any knowledge of the alleged abuse.
“He is a good person,” Kester said. “And no one’s ever made any allegations that he’s ever physically abused those kids, or anyone else.”
The Frankes share six children and rose to fame on YouTube, amassing more than 2 million followers before the channel was taken down.
In one video that has since been deleted, Ruby is heard saying of her children: “Up until now, I was really hoping that keeping them home from school and wiping the floor boards would, like, really bring pain.”
In another since-deleted video, Ruby’s sister, Bonnie Hoellein, says family members “did as much as we could legally” to intervene.
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