Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

‘Are we in news?’ Mommy vlogger Ruby Franke’s jailhouse calls revealed along with video of emaciated children escaping

Ruby Franke was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for child abuse

Martha McHardy
Tuesday 26 March 2024 09:22 GMT
Ruby Franke's 'emaciated' son escapes to neighbours, doorbell footage shows

Jailed ‘momfluencer’ Ruby Franke asked if “we made the news” one day after she was arrested for child abuse, newly released audio of her jailhouse calls has revealed.

Franke, 42, who previously ran the popular “8 Passengers” YouTube channel about her family life, was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison in February for brutally abusing her 12-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter.

Her arrest came after her son managed to escape the torture and alert a neighbour to their suffering.

Since then, the extent of the abuse that Ms Franke’s children suffered has begun to emerge, with new audio footage, obtained by ABC 4, revealing that the momfluencer asked an unidentified man if she had “made the news” after she was arrested for child abuse.

“Are we in the news?” she is heard asking during the phone call.

“It sounds like that at least you’re in the news, I don’t know about me,” the man responds, adding that he was “going dark”.

“This is a witch hunt,” Franke added. “The devil’s been after me for years.”

During the call, she could also be heard telling the man her six children “can be full of evil”.

Jailed ‘momfluencer’ Ruby Franke asked if ‘we made the news’ one day after she was arrested for child abuse (Instagram/Moms_of_Truth)

“Adults have a really hard time understanding that children can be full of evil, and what that takes to fight it,” she said, adding: “It’s not the person you’re fighting and it can look like something it’s not and you’ve been there you know. that. I don’t know any adults who are going to see the truth so I’m calm about this and I just pray that you’ll hang in there.”

Other phone calls from the days following her arrest also reveal Franke’s state of mind as she was locked up in prison.

In a second phone call placed two days after her arrest, she is heard suggesting that authorities were trying to “exaggerate” the extent of her abuse after her children were sent to hospital.

“They’re going to be in the hospital for three days’” the man said of Franke’s children.

“So weird,” she countered. “It’s just not necessary. They’re trying to exaggerate this.”

She continued: ”The most upsetting thing is that I am completely misunderstood. That is the most horrible feeling. Like my own family misunderstands me. They misinterpret me.”

The man then appears to remind Franke that even if she is acquitted, there will likely be restrictions placed on the contact she can have with her children under the age of 18.

“I figured,” Franke replied. “God told me when I was driving before and said your children are going to be removed and I just cried out loud ‘no I’m not done, I’m not ready’, and God told me I’m done.

The mugshots of Ruby Franke (left) and Jodi Hildebrandt (right) (Washington County Attorney’s Office)

“So Satan has taken everything away from me that I love and I’m a good woman I don’t do not do naughty things. I’m a really good girl,” she added.

Two months later, in another phone call recorded in October 2023, she appears more remorseful and sounds tearful.

“I can’t say everything that I want to say but I really did feel like being arrested was like a rescue. I just felt so many angels around and it was really kind of surreal. I’ve had many experiences here to guide my thinking,” she said.

By November of last year, Franke appears to see her arrest as divine intervention.

Ruby Franke’s 12-year-old son was found emaciated (Washington County Attorney)
Ruby Franke’s kids were found with silver duct tape around their arms and legs (Washington County Attorney)

“I could not come out of this without his grace, without his mercy, without his help. This has been the strangest and the most miraculous intervention. It put everybody where they needed to be,” she is heard saying.

Franke’s arrest came after her 12-year-old son escaped from the home of her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt’s home in August 2023 and fled to a neighbour’s home.

He was found with wounds and was emaciated; while his sister was later found in a similar condition.

Police released new video footage of the boy’s dramatic escape this week. In the footage, he is seen ringing the doorbell of his neighbors and walking away as he thinks no one is home, until a neighbour calls him back.

”I was wondering if you could do me two favours,” the boy says politely.

“Well what are they?” the neighbour responds.

“Taking me to the nearest police station,” the young boy replies before he is asked to take a seat and explain what’s happened. He also said he needed cops for “personal business”.

The neighbours then hand the 12-year-old water and a banana while dialling 911. They can be heard telling the cops he has duct tape around his feet and sores all over his body.

Images released by the courts this week also highlighted the extent of the abuse by Franke and show the two emaciated victims with infected cuts on their legs, duct tape around their arms and feet and scratches and bruises on their bodies.

After his escape, the boy later told police that Hildebrandt would put cayenne pepper and honey on their wounds that had been caused by being tied with the rope, warrants said.

Hildebrandt was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison in February alongside Franke.

The new material released by authorities comes after the Washington County Attorney’s Office released Franke’s handwritten journal entries, detailing the horrific abuse she inflicted on her young children, including shaving their heads, starving them, dousing them with dirty mop water, making them stand outside barefoot in the brutal desert heat for hours and forcing them to wear adult diapers.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in