AMERICAN FORK, Utah (Court TV) — Newly-released bodycam footage shows police finding two of YouTube star Ruby Franke‘s children at a friend’s house hours after her other child escaped from bondage and ran to a neighbor’s house for help.
Franke and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, are charged with six counts of felony child abuse after a 12-year-old boy climbed through a window and went to a neighbor asking for food and water. The child was found to be “abnormally thin and weak,” according to court documents, and he had duct tape around his ankles and wrists.
While the child who escaped was in Ivins, police in American Fork were dispatched to the home of Pam Bodtcher, a friend of Ruby’s, in an attempt to find her other children.
Police body worn camera obtained by Court TV shows police arriving at the home and verifying that Franke’s daughter is there before placing Pam into handcuffs and putting her into the back of a cruiser. Officers radioed back describing Pam and her husband as “cooperative” but “confused,” and asked for clarification about why a warrant had asked for Pam to be detained.
Officers explained that detectives were investigating allegations of child abuse and a warrant required Ruby’s children to be put into the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). At that point, Pam asked officers why they weren’t asking about another one of Ruby’s daughters who was also in her home.
Both girls were brought out and sat on the porch to wait for DCFS workers.
Pam told police that Ruby had called her at approximately noon that day and said, “Hey, I have a family emergency, I’m going to St. George.” Pam said that she went and picked the girls up from the Springville Rec Center where they had been and took them out for ice cream before having them help her clean her home. Pam said the girls frequently came over to her home to help her scrub the floors and vacuum, and they were helping to prepare her home ahead of expected guests that evening. Pam told police Ruby asked her, “‘Would you mind watching the girls while I’m gone?’ Cause she was leaving.”
Pam said that she knew Franke through the program ConneXions, which she described as a “life skills-type thing.”
The children were taken into protective custody by the state. While Pam had been detained in handcuffs, they were removed when officers from the Springville Police Department arrived to ask her questions. No charges have been filed against her.
Ruby and Jodi were expected to have court appearances earlier this month, but they were delayed at the request of their attorneys until “after October 5.”