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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Influencer Ruby Franke and business partner Jodi Hildebrandt sentenced to 30 years in child abuse case

Both Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt pleaded guilty to four counts each of aggravated child abuse in December

By Web Desk
February 21, 2024
Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt make an appearance in Fifth District Court in St. George, Friday, Sept. 8., 2023. — Utah Fifth District Court
Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt make an appearance in Fifth District Court in St. George, Friday, Sept. 8., 2023. — Utah Fifth District Court

Utah parenting influencer Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt have been sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison for aggravated child abuse.

The charges against Franke and Hildebrandt stemmed from a police investigation that began in August when Franke's emaciated 12-year-old son escaped Hildebrandt's home and sought help from a neighbour. 

Responding officers discovered Franke's 10-year-old daughter also malnourished inside Hildebrandt's residence. The initial charges included six counts of aggravated child abuse for each woman.

Both Franke and Hildebrandt pleaded guilty to four counts each of aggravated child abuse in December. 

Franke's plea agreement was entered into a week before Hildebrandt. The plea agreements, containing graphic details regarding child abuse, outlined the horrifying abuse the two youngest children endured in the three months leading up to the arrests.

The judge ruled that both women will serve one to 15 years for each of the four child abuse counts, running consecutively.

Hildebrandt's involvement was equally appalling, with accusations of coercing Franke's daughter to jump into a cactus "multiple times."

Prosecutor Eric Clarke described the environment as a "concentration camp-like setting," emphasising the severity of the abuse. The crimes were linked to religious extremism, with both women believing the abuse was necessary for repentance.

Franke, known for her now-deleted YouTube channel '8 Passengers,' faced criticism for harsh parenting decisions even before the criminal charges.

The sentences are now pending the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole's decision. The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole will determine the final prison time for Franke and Hildebrandt. 

Franke's ex-husband, Kevin Franke, has filed for divorce, expressing concerns for their children's well-being. 

Franke's family, including her parents and brother, attribute her actions to Hildebrandt's influence, claiming she was systematically isolated.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the shocking revelations continue to send shockwaves through the community.