YouTube star arrested after child climbs out of window for help

Posted at 12:33 PM, August 31, 2023 and last updated 8:28 AM, September 7, 2023

By: Melanie Porter

IVINS, Utah (Scripps News Salt Lake City) — A YouTube star has been arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse after a child climbed out of a window to get help.

Ruby Franke, known for her YouTube channel “8 Passengers,” which garnered the attention of millions of people around the world, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of second-degree felony aggravated child abuse.

Housing developments are shown in Ivins

Housing developments are shown in Ivins, Utah, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. A Utah woman who gave online parenting advice via a once popular YouTube channel has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated child abuse after her malnourished son escaped out a window and ran to a nearby house for help, authorities said. Ruby Franke, whose now defunct channel “8 Passengers” followed her family, was arrested Wednesday night, Aug. 30, 2023, in the southern Utah city of Ivins. (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Arresting documents detail that the arrest was made after a child climbed out of the window of an Ivins residence at around 10:50 a.m. Wednesday and ran to a neighbor’s home for help.

The home belonged to Jodi Hildebrandt, who is involved with a parent counseling service called “ConneXions” and was also arrested in relation to the case.

The child knocked on the door and asked for food and water but the neighbor noticed duct tape on the child’s ankles and wrists and called police, documents state.

“The calling party stated the juvenile appeared to be emaciated and malnourished, with open wounds and duct tape around the extremities,” a statement from local authorities reads.

Police described the wounds, neglect and malnourishment of the child to be “severe,” arresting documents state, and the child was taken to the hospital for treatment.

After the first child was taken to the hospital, another child was discovered in the home and was found to be malnourished as well, officers reported.

A search warrant was obtained by police and, “during the search of the home, evidence was located consistent with the markings found on the juvenile,” authorities said in a statement.

Arresting documents state Franke was seen on a YouTube video filmed in the residence just days before the incident, which “adds to Ms. Franke…being present in the home and having knowledge of the abuse, malnourishment and neglect,” documents state.

Franke did not speak with police and instead requested a lawyer, arrest information reports. She was ordered to be held without bail in the Washington County jail.

“The Department of Child and Family Services was contacted,” a statement from the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department reads, “and in a joint effort with the Springville Police Department, four minor children were taken into the care of the Department of Child and Family Services.”

This story was originally published by Scripps News Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.