May 24, 2024

When The 8 Passengers Turn Into The 8 Prisoners: The Ruby Franke Accusations

The popular YouTube channel, The 8 Passengers, has had some crazy accusations and reports over the past few months. The YouTube channel had a maximum subscriber count of 2.5 million and was run by 41-year-old Ruby Franke and her 44-year-old husband Kevin Franke. The family-friendly channel would quickly blow up and gain lots of traction for their vlogs that documented their lives and behind the scenes of living with 6 children. However, behind the luxurious life the family was living was a secret Franke had been hiding for years.

For some, the arrest was one of the least shocking revelations. Over the years many fans noticed the family’s discipline tactics and would be quick to point it out. Before some of the shocking accusations fans would jokingly call the account “8 prisoners” because of some of the methods used on the children. Some tactics used were taking away their oldest son, Chad’s, bedroom due to a prank played on his younger brother where he lied that the family was taking a trip to Disneyland. Chad said in one video:

“My bedroom was taken away for seven months. I was sleeping on a beanbag since October.”

Another method was starving the children if they did not do their required chores. Ruby states in a since-deleted video:

“I’m not even gonna let you have breakfast until you get your chores done,”

This method was shown in many of the 8 passengers’ vlogs and would be the method that would get them caught. On August 30, 2023, Ruby Franke’s son escaped from the home of a business partner of hers, Jodi Hildebrandt, home. The police would soon receive a disturbing call from a neighbor of the Hildebrandt detailing the 12-year-old’s escape after the boy climbed out the window of the home and ran to a neighbor’s house pleading for food and water:

“He’s emaciated, he’s got tape around his legs, he’s hungry and thirsty…this kid has obviously… he’s been detained. He’s covered in wounds.'” The neighbor reports to the operator.

Soon after police arrived they found Ruby Franke’s 10-year-old daughter in the home allegedly in a similar condition to the boy.

“The condition of the juvenile was so severe that they were seen by Santa Clara-Ivins EMS and transported to a local area hospital,” The department said in their news release.

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt would be arrested on August 30, 2023. Both women would each be charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse, a second-degree felony. Both have the potential to spend one to fifteen years in prison. However, the investigation is still ongoing.

The channel has since been deleted and Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt will remain without bail until the next court appearance on October 5, 2023.