Prominent Mommy Blogger and Life Coach Sentenced to 60 Years for Aggravated Child Abuse in Utah

Prominent Mommy Blogger and Life Coach Sentenced to 60 Years for Aggravated Child Abuse in Utah

In a shocking revelation that unfolded on August 30th last year, the facade of a seemingly idyllic family in the affluent suburbs of ‘Mormon County’ Utah came crashing down. The distressing call to emergency services described a 12-year-old boy, emaciated, terrified, and covered in wounds, seeking refuge from his own home. This marked the beginning of a harrowing tale involving Ruby Franke, a successful mommy video blogger, and Jodi Hildebrandt, her business partner and mentor, both now sentenced to up to 60 years in prison for aggravated child abuse.

The Deceptive Facade:

Ruby Franke, 42, had achieved significant success as a mommy video blogger with a channel boasting 2.3 million subscribers. Living in a luxurious $5.3 million home, she portrayed an image of affluence and success following her divorce. The property, owned by her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt, exuded luxury with five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a five-car garage, hot tub, swimming pool, and sweeping gardens.

The Prosperous Ventures:

Franke and Hildebrandt, partners in both business and life coaching, were seemingly prosperous. Franke’s YouTube channel, at its peak, earned an estimated $5 million over eight years from sponsored content, YouTube ads, and clothing sales. Hildebrandt, a licensed mental health counselor and life coach, charged clients up to $3,000 a month for her services.

Cruelty Behind Closed Doors:

Beneath the veneer of success, unimaginable cruelty unfolded. The children, Franke’s youngest son and daughter, were subjected to a ‘concentration camp-like setting.’ Denied food and water, forced into hard manual labor, kicked, held underwater, and labeled ‘possessed’ and ‘evil,’ the extent of the abuse was horrifying.

Legal Consequences:

Both Franke and Hildebrandt pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse charges. The court heard about the systematic abuse, including physical injuries, isolation, and psychological torment. The sentencing handed down up to 60 years in prison for each, highlighting the severity of the crimes committed.

Origins of the Disturbing Case:

The roots of this dark chapter trace back to 2015 when Franke’s video blog, 8 Passengers, showcased her ‘tough love’ parenting style. Criticism arose as videos revealed extreme punishments, such as making children sleep on a beanbag for months. A petition with 18,000 signatures prompted an investigation by Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services, but the children were deemed physically unharmed.

Collaboration and Separation:

In 2022, Franke closed the 8 Passengers channel and collaborated with Hildebrandt on ConneXions, delving into mental fitness training. Neighbors, concerned about the children being left alone, witnessed a disturbing shift after Franke’s split from her husband. Franke and Hildebrandt’s arrest shed light on their disturbing practices, marking the beginning of their legal battles.

Sentencing and Emotional Statements:

The recent sentencing saw Franke and Hildebrandt expressing remorse. Franke, in a tearful statement, blamed her distorted beliefs for the criminal activities. Hildebrandt, avoiding trial to spare the children further trauma, hoped for their healing. The court’s decision ensures a substantial period of incarceration, yet under Utah law, they may serve no more than 30 years of their 60-year sentences.

Impact on the Children:

As the legal proceedings conclude, the children face a long journey of healing. Shari, the eldest daughter, broke her silence on Instagram, expressing relief that justice is being served. The family’s troubled dynamics, documented on social media, have left scars that will take time to fade.

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