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Jailed ‘momfluencer’ Ruby Franke’s newly-released journal entries detail horrific child abuse

Former YouTuber kept a handwritten journal about the physical and emotional abuse of her young children

Katie Hawkinson
Saturday 23 March 2024 17:40 GMT
Ruby Franke's journals reveal depravity of abuse

Ruby Franke’s handwritten journal entries, detailing the horrific abuse she inflicted on her young children, have been released by authorities.

Franke, a YouTube “momfluencer”, from Utah, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of aggravated child abuse in December. She previously ran a YouTube channel about her family life, featuring her husband, Kevin Franke, and their six children.

Her associate, Jodi Hildebrandt, also pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated abuse over the physical and emotional harm done to Franke’s two youngest children, aged nine and 12. The pair have each been sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

On Friday, the Washington County Attorney’s Office released documents and videos related to the case, including Franke’s handwritten journal.

The entries contain sickening details of Franke and Hildebrandts’ abusive behaviour, including denying the children access to food and water, and claims that one child is “possessed”.

An excerpt from Ruby Franke’s journal, dated 10 July 2023 (Washington County Attorney’s Office)

The children’s names were redacted by authorities and replaced with the initials, “R” and “E.”

On 10 July 2023, Franke wrote about her son’s birthday, comparing him to a “snake”.

“It’s [R’s] birthday,” she wrote. “He doesn’t even know what month it is...I told [R] he emulates a snake. He slithers and sneaks around when no one is watching then he scurries.”

In other entries, Franke fixates on sin and evil. “I told [R] that he needs to find God,” she wrote. “I invited him to fast and pray. [R] is in and out of possession.”

In several entries, Franke wrote about her children begging for water or “stealing” it, and how she deprived them of food. Franke also wrote about how her daughter would makeup rhymes about her abuse.

“All day, [E] makes rhymes about: ‘My mom starves me and calls it fasting.’ ‘My mom won’t lift a finger and bring me food because all she does is lie on the bed and eat brownies,’” Franke wrote.

She described the child as manipulative and said that she had cut off her hair.

“[E] is better behaved with Jodi. She likes to think she can manipulate me. I gave her a pixie hair cut. All her long hair is gone. No more distracting [with] hair.”

The mugshots of Ruby Franke (left) and Jodi Hildebrandt (right). Both were convicted of child abuse (Washington County Attorney’s Office)

The women were arrested after Franke’s son escaped from Hildebrandt’s southern Utah home last August, where the pair were keeping the children. The child asked a neighbour to call the police.

The boy, who was thin and covered in wounds, told investigators that Hildebrandt put ropes on his limbs and used cayenne pepper and honey to dress his cuts.

Franke’s abuse was rooted in religious extremism, it was revealed during trial. Both Franke and Hildebrandt, a former therapist, admitted to telling the children they were evil, possessed and needed to be punished to repent.

Franke’s family wrote that she was “delusional” in a statement to the court ahead of her sentencing. “She was so deeply brainwashed we could not recognize her,” the statement read.

Ruby Franke described “rhymes” by her daughter in a journal entry dated 12 July 2023 (Washington County Attorney’s Office)

Initial reports had described the pair as business partners but Franke instead claimed that she paid the former therapist to mentor her.

“Jodi Hildebrandt was never my business partner,” Franke said, at her sentencing. “Nor was I employed by her... Jodi was employed as my son’s counselor in 2019 and in 2020, I paid her to be my mentor. It is important to me to demonstrate my remorse and regret without blame.”

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