How Utah mom Ruby Franke used disturbing ‘strategies’ to torture her kids - Hindustan Times
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Strenuous tasks, denial of food: How Utah mom Ruby Franke used disturbing ‘strategies’ to torture her kids

BySumanti Sen
Dec 20, 2023 11:36 AM IST

YouTuber Ruby Franke on Monday, December 18, pleaded guilty to four counts of child abuse

YouTuber Ruby Franke on Monday, December 18, pleaded guilty to four counts of child abuse. She will be sentenced in January 2024. “With my deepest regret and sorrow for my family and my children, guilty,” she said.

This image from video shows Ruby Franke during a hearing Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in St. George, Utah (Ron Chaffin/St. George News via AP, Pool)(AP)
This image from video shows Ruby Franke during a hearing Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in St. George, Utah (Ron Chaffin/St. George News via AP, Pool)(AP)

Franke and her podcasting partner Jodi Hildebrandt were arrested in August after Franke’s son, 12, allegedly escaped Hildebrandt’s home. He went to a neighbour begging for food and water. A neighbour called 911 and said the boy looked "emaciated" and was "covered in wounds,” ABC News reported.

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Franke and her husband, Kevin, became popular through their YouTube channel 8Passengers. They took to the channel to showcase their strict parenting style. After Franke’s arrest, the channel, with at least two million followers, was shut down.

After Franke’s guilty plea, chilling details of how she abused her children have been revealed.

Ruby Franke’s disturbing “strategies”

Franke put her children – specifically her minor son and daughter – through hard times by inflicting pain on them through her heinous actions from approximately May 22, 2023, to August 30, 2023, in Washington County, Utah. She reportedly emotionally abused her children by telling them they needed to be punished as they were evil and possessed.

Franke made her son perform strenuous physical tasks for long periods. He was forced to do wall-sits, carry heavy loads of books, and perform outdoor labour without shoes under the scorching sun. Hhe was deprived of water and punished when he tried to secretly hydrate. He was provided with insufficient food as the others enjoyed wholesome meals.

The child was isolated, not allowed to access books, notebooks, and electronics. His hands and feet were regularly bound after he tried to escape in July. Wounds on his ankles and wrists were treated with "homeopathic remedies" and covered with duct tape. He was then bound above the duct tape again. She would often kick her son while wearing boots, and hold his head underwater to cut off oxygen.

Franke’s youngest daughter was also put through "severe emotional harm,” according to the guilty plea, The Mirror reported. The child’s experiences, like his brother, also included physical tasks and outdoor exposure. She was denied food and water. She was forced to work barefoot outside in the summer heat and run barefoot on dirt roads for long periods. The girl reportedly sustained scabs, blisters, and sloughing skin.

Meanwhile, an attorney for Franke said the mom was influenced by Hildebrandt, who led her to "a distorted sense of morality." Hildebrandt was a relationship counsellor and Franke's business partner. "Ruby Franke is a devoted mother and is also a woman committed to constant improvement," Winward Law said in a statement.

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