‘Mumfluencer’ Ruby Franke who posted parenting advice on YouTube admits torturing her children

Ruby Franke broke down in tears during her sentencing at a court in Utah
Ruby Franke broke down in tears during her sentencing at a court in Utah - Law & Crime Network

A “mumfluencer” who posted parenting advice videos on YouTube has been sentenced to up to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to abusing and starving two of her children.

Ruby Franke and her former business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were both given four consecutive sentences of up to 15 years in prison on Tuesday.

The pair admitted to inflicting or allowing another adult to inflict serious injuries on her children between May and August 2023.

Franke broke down in tears ahead of her sentencing, telling a court in Utah: “My charges are just. I … believed dark was light and right was wrong.”

As if addressing her children, she added: “I would do anything in this world for you. I took from you all that was soft, and safe, and good.”

Franke said she was “led to believe that this world was an evil place filled with cops who control, hospitals that injure, government agencies that brainwash, church leaders who lie and lust, husbands who refuse to protect and children who need abuse.”

She added: “I take full accountability for my choices, and it is my preference that I serve a prison sentence.”

Business partners Jodi Hildebrandt (left) and Ruby Franke were both convicted
Business partners Jodi Hildebrandt (left) and Ruby Franke were both convicted - ABC4 Utah

Franke, 42, and Hildebrandt, 54, were arrested on Aug 30 after Franke’s 12-year-old son climbed out of a window at Hildebrandt’s house and told a neighbour he had been abused.

Franke’s 10-year-old daughter was also found at the property and both children were taken to the hospital.

Eventually, Franke’s four youngest children were taken into care.

‘Horrific and inhumane’

The “mumfluencer” rose to internet fame with her YouTube channel “8 Passengers,” which documented the lives of her husband and six children in Utah.

Franke, who racked up more than 2.5 million online followers, later admitted to torturing her children and forcing them to do physical tasks.

Her son was forced to do outside labour without shoes in the summer heat, standing in direct sunlight for several days, resulting in “repeated and serious sunburns with blistered and sloughing skins,” ABC News reported.

He was denied adequate water for several days and punished when he “secretly consumed water”.

The child’s hands and feet were also “regularly bound” with duct tape after he attempted to run away, resulting in injuries to his wrists and ankles.

Between 2015 and 2020 Franke faced criticism online over her parenting techniques.

In one video, she spoke of refusing to take lunch to one of her children after they accidentally left it behind at home, as well as threatening to chop the head off a young girl’s stuffed toy to punish her for cutting things in the house.

Lawyers for Kevin Franke, Franke’s estranged husband, described the abuse as “horrific and inhumane, both physically and psychologically”.

Hildebrandt told the court on Tuesday: “I sincerely love these children. I desire for them to heal emotionally.”

She added that one of the reasons why she accepted the plea deal was because “I did not want them to emotionally relive experiences [in court] which would have been detrimental to them.”