Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt — the two Utah YouTubers charged with six counts of child abuse — have reportedly both experienced medical issues since arriving in jail on August 31.
According to People, Franke was moved to a medical observation block on Friday, though details of her condition or why she needed medical care are unknown. Public jail records reviewed by Rolling Stone show that she has since been moved back into a regular holding cell.
On September 8, Hildebrandt’s attorneys also filed a motion for an expedited hearing on the grounds that the YouTuber had “experienced a life-threatening medical issue” while in jail, causing her to be hospitalized for “several days.” Her current condition also remains unclear. Due to a hearing delay, Franke is being held without bail.
Rolling Stone was not able to reach Franke or Hildebrandt for comment.
The news comes alongside intense scrutiny of the two women’s case following their public arrest. Franke is the mother behind the popular family vlogging account 8 Passengers. Prior to the channel’s deletion in early 2023, Franke was well known for her controversial parenting techniques, which advocated for strict leadership to her 2.3 million subscribers. Many of her videos focused on discipline, and often received pushback from her audience for overly harsh punishments for minor infractions — like withholding lunch, removing bedroom doors, and threatening to throw away toys and clothes with sentimental value.
During an initial court hearing on Friday, the public Zoom link was overwhelmed by interested viewers. Local news station KSL TV reports that as many as 1,200 people logged in, so many that the judge had a hard time entering the virtual room.
Both women have been held at the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurrican, Utah, since their August 31 arrest. Police were initially alerted when Franke’s son went to neighbors for help. According to statements from the authorities, the child crawled out of Hildebrandt’s window and asked neighbors for food and water. The child had remnants of duct tape on him and “appeared to be emaciated and malnourished, with open wounds,” according to a police report. First responders on the scene also examined the rest of Hildebrandt’s home and found another one of Franke’s children, who they also described as malnourished.
In the weeks since their arrest, Franke’s own family members have spoken out against her. Franke’s sisters Ellie Mecham, Julie Deru, and Bonnie Hoellein — who are also family content creators — called the YouTuber’s arrest something that “needed to happen.” “Ruby was arrested which needed to happen. Jodi was arrested which needed to happen,” the three women said in a statement. “ The kids are now safe, which is the number one priority.” Franke’s eldest daughter, Shari, posted on her Instagram Story that justice was “being served.” Franke’s husband, Kevin Franke, declined to comment to Rolling Stone, but his attorney told Good Morning America that the couple was separated, living in different homes, and that Kevin had no hand in the abuse.
If the two women are found guilty, they could face up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.