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Parenting vlogger Ruby Franke’s estranged husband shares haunting details of inside accomplice’s house

Parenting vlogger Ruby Franke’s estranged husband shares haunting details of inside accomplice’s house

He called himself the 'resident exorcist'

Warning: This article contains discussion of child abuse which some readers may find distressing.

New police interview footage has been released of Ruby Franke's estranged husband speaking about the 'crazy s**t' he witnessed at her accomplice's home.

Franke is at the centre of one of the most highly publicised cases of child neglect in recent year.

Ruby’s business partner and mental health counsellor Jodi Hildebrandt, 54, was given the same sentence for being complicit in the abuse of Franke's children.

The pair were sentenced to serve four terms of 1 to 15 years behind bars for each of the second-degree felony aggravated child abuse charges, meaning they could both spend a maximum of 60 years in prison.

Ruby’s campaign of starvation and abuse against her six children only came to light after one of her children escaped from a window, appearing at a neighbour’s house asking for food and water.

Ruby, 42, was at the helm of extremely popular YouTube channel 8Passengers which had over two million subscribers. She aimed to market her home life as idyllic, both in parenting and marriage.

An interview with Utah police that was recorded last year has now been released by the Washington County Attorney's Office, showing her estranged husband Kevin Franke talking about his wife’s descent into a life he didn’t recognise.

Ruby Franke, 42.

Kevin told police that Ruby and Jodi became fast friends in 2019 due to sharing a similar lifestyle and views on parenting.

He also told police that Jodi lived in a $5.3 million (£4.2 million) mountain home, which ‘blew his mind’. He said: “How does a therapist live like this?"

Kevin picked up on a frightening energy when visiting Jodi’s home. He told police: "I can’t explain some of the stuff that happened while we were there, like crashes in the basement while we were talking upstairs, and plates in the kitchen just flying off by themselves, like, full-speed smashing off the wall and falling to the floor by themselves.

"I can’t explain it, but I saw it with my own eyes, and I don’t have any way to explain it other than there was some crazy s**t going on."

Jodi eventually moved herself into the Frankes' home. He called the bond between the two ‘batsh**t crazy’.

Ruby Franke's estranged husband, Kevin Franke.
Washington County Attorney

Kevin continued: “The moment she showed up at my house, just the weirdest crap started happening: lights turning on and off, sounds of people walking in walls - like footprints going up walls and across the ceiling - and stuff floating around."

He described himself as turning into the ‘resident exorcist’ after witnessing Jodi go into ‘possession mode’ whilst ‘talking in different voices’. He said: “It was weird and I hated it.”

Footage has also recently emerged of a ‘panic room’ found by police in the basement of Hildebrant’s home.

It shows a sterile, large room, with cupboards and a fridge.

Police found a key piece of evidence in there - some rope attached to handcuffs, so it is thought that this room was used to hold Ruby’s children against their will.

Ruby’s disturbing diary entries of which have since been published show the extent of her abuse. In one entry, she wrote: “All day, E [her child] makes rhymes about: 'My mom starves me and calls it fasting.'”

When Ruby’s children were eventually rescued, they were found with wounds after appearing to have been bound by cling film and duct tape, and were so emaciated their bones were visible.

Following Ruby’s arrest, her family told the courts that her abuse came from her religious extremism. Their statement said: “She was so deeply brainwashed we could not recognise her.”

Full timeline of the Ruby Franke case:

Starting a YouTube channel and initial suspicions

Franke started her parenting YouTube channel '8Passengers' with now ex-husband, Kevin, amassing over 2.5 million subscribers before it was deleted in 2023 following the arrest.

Several subscribers became suspicious of child abuse, with a petition being signed for the police to investigate the family, citing the numerous questionable videos uploaded.

Franke joins ConneXions with Jodi Hildebrandt

The mum told critics in a 2021 interview for The Wrap that she was showing everyone 'what a responsible mother looks like'.

She stopped uploading videos to the channel in 2022, joining Mormon therapist Hildebrandt's ConneXions podcast.

Their divisive opinions on subjects such as eating disorders, blaming rape victims and criticising immigrants drew the wrong kind of attention.

YouTube/ConneXions Classroom

The arrest

Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested on child abuse charges in August 2023.

The Santa Clara Public Safety Department were called to the Ivins neighbourhood in Utah after a neighbour was alerted by Franke's 'emaciated' 12-year-old son, who escaped to knock on their door to ask for help.

He had visible marks and wounds from duct tape put around his ankles, and asked for some food and water.

Police found his 10-year-old sister in a 'similar physical condition of malnourishment' in Hildebrandt's house.

Family members speak out

Franke's oldest daughter, Shari, wrote on Instagram on the day of the arrests: “Today has been a big day."

The 20-year-old continued: "Me and my family are so glad justice is being served. We've been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up."

Franke and Hildebrandt are charged with six counts of child abuse

Just one week after their arrests, the pair were charged with six counts of felony child abuse.

YouTube banned Franke, deleting both 8Passengers and ConneXions channels and banning her from the social media platform.

Franke blames the abuse on Hildebrandt

Her attorneys released a statement that said: “Initially, Ms. Franke believed that Jodi Hildebrandt had the insight to offer a path to continual improvement.

"Ms. Hildebrandt took advantage of this quest and twisted it into something heinous."

It blamed Hildebrandt solely for isolating Franke from her family completely, distorting her morality.

Franke pleads guilty

Just three days after the statement was released, Franke pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse.

In November, Kevin also officially filed for divorce from Franke.

Washington County Attorney’s Office

Franke and Hildebrandt are sentenced to prison for child abuse

On 20 February 2024, Franke was convicted and given four separate prison sentences of one to 15 years, with the length of each sentence decided by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

Franke will not serve more than 30 years in the Federal Penitentiary because of a Utah law about consecutive sentences.

Hildebrandt received the same sentence and how long she spends in prison will also be decided by the parole board.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 10am-8pm Monday to Friday. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111, 24/7.

Featured Image Credit: Washington County Attorney/Instagram/@moms_of_truth

Topics: US News, Crime