Ruby Franke, the mother of six behind the family’s YouTube channel “8 Passengers,” has been charged with six counts of child molestation by the Washington County Attorney in Utah, a spokesperson for the law firm confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.
Franke and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, were arrested last week after police found Franke’s 12-year-old son emaciated, with open wounds and duct tape on his wrists and ankles. The boy had climbed out of a window of Hildebrandt’s home and ran to a neighboring home for help, according to a probable cause statement obtained by NBC News.
According to the affidavit, Franke’s 10-year-old daughter was found in Hildebrandt’s home in a similar malnourished condition. Officials said the children’s condition was so serious that they were transported to a local hospital. Franke’s other four children were placed in the care of Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services.
Hildebrandt was also charged with six counts of child abuse. Each charge carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000, the prosecutor told NBC News in an emailed statement.
“There are two minor victims in these cases, and each defendant is charged with inflicting or permitting serious bodily harm to the victims in three different ways: (1) a combination of multiple bodily harms or torture, (2) starvation or malnutrition that endangers the lives of the victims. life, and (3) causing serious emotional harm,” the county attorney said.
According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office website, Franke and Hildebrandt are still in custody.
A lawyer for Franke did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is unclear whether Hildebrandt retained representation. Both are expected to appear in court on Friday for their hearings, according to the probable cause statement.
Franke rose to prominence in 2015 through the “8 Passengers” YouTube channel, which featured her, her husband Kevin, and their six children. The channel had nearly 2.3 million followers before it was taken down earlier this year. Ruby Franke regularly collaborated with Hildebrandt on parenting and relationship advice videos for ConneXions, Hildebrandt’s life coaching service that has been criticized for its extreme teachings, including rejecting children who don’t follow their beliefs.
YouTube confirmed to NBC News last week that it had terminated two channels related to Franke.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com