The chilling 911 call that led to the arrest of Ruby Franke and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, on charges of aggravated child abuse has been released.
In audio obtained by Fox News Saturday, Franke’s neighbor phoned police at 10:50 p.m. on Aug. 30 after a frightened boy arrived on his doorstep in Santa Clara, Utah.
“I just had a 12-year-old boy show up here at my front door asking for help, and he said he just came from a neighbor’s house, and we know there’s been problems at this neighbor’s house,” the man told an emergency dispatcher.
“He’s emaciated. He’s got tape around his legs. He’s hungry, and he’s thirsty,” the concerned man said, later adding that the boy “asked us to call the police” and that the child was “very afraid.”
“I don’t think he needs an ambulance. I’ll let the cops decide that, but his ankles are taped up, and he won’t tell us why. … There’s sores around him.”
“This kid has obviously been . . . he’s been detained. He’s obviously covered in wounds,” the neighbor said after choking up in tears.
“He says what happened to him was his fault.”
Ruby Franke arrest: What you need to know
Ruby Franke was a “momfluencer” who had one of YouTube’s biggest channels, “8 Passengers,” which documented her and her husband, Kevin, and their six kids.
Franke was arrested on August 30, 2023, on two counts of aggravated child abuse and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Franke’s arrest came after an emaciated child with duct tape around their extremities escaped and ran to a neighbor’s house for help.
Franke’s sisters’ released a joint statement saying they did everything they could to protect their nieces and nephews “behind the public scene” and that the arrest “needed to happen.”
Through a lawyer, Franke’s husband denied having any part in the abuse.
Franke in court accused one of her own children of sexually abusing a sibling for years.
YouTube has deleted Franke’s account and banned her from the platform.
The child later identified his mother as Franke, revealing that he had come from Hildebrandt’s home and that neither of his parents were nearby.
The child also confirmed that other children were in Hildebrandt’s home but that they were not tied up.
Franke shares four minor children — Abby, 16, Julie, 14, Russell, 12, and Eve, 9 — with husband Kevin Franke. They also share children Shari, 20, and Chad, 18.
At one point during the call, the neighbor expressed that he was concerned Hildebrandt would “come looking” for the child, who had allegedly escaped through a window in her home.
The neighbor then insisted that they need the police there “as soon as possible.”
“She’s a bad lady, we didn’t realize how bad,” the man said of Hildebrandt.
Following the call, Santa Clara Police arrived on the scene and would later arrest Ruby and Hildebrandt.
The two business partners, who ran a now-deleted YouTube channel “8 Passengers” on parenting, were charged with six felony counts of aggravated child abuse.
In the state of Utah, a felony count of child abuse is defined as harm such as starvation, broken bones, head injuries from hitting or shaking and suffocation.
A press release from the Washington County Attorney’s Office stated that “each defendant is accused of causing or permitting serious physical injury to the victims in three different ways: (1) a combination of multiple physical injuries or torture, (2) starvation or malnutrition that jeopardizes life, and (3) causing severe emotional harm.”
Speaking through his lawyer, Kevin has denied any role in the abuse.
The momfluencer and her ConneXions co-founder made their first courtroom appearances on Friday, in which the judge ruled that she and Hildebrandt remain in jail with no option for bail.
Ruby also claimed during a hearing via video Thursday that one of her minor children had molested “several” family members and neighbors for “years” and that the child had abused one of their siblings.
The disgraced YouTube vlogger also claimed that the child began watching pornography at 3 years old.
These claims were not substantiated, but the judge later ruled that the child in question should “be placed in a home with no other children.”
Ruby’s sibling Bonnie Hoellein spoke out after the arrest, sharing in a video posted to YouTube that the family did “as much as [they] could” to protect the children.
Neighbors of the Franke family also revealed that they had attempted to elicit help for the children a year prior to the arrest.
A female neighbor, who spoke anonymously to NBC News, told the outlet that she had warned Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services, which led to a wellness check on Ruby’s home.
However, the neighbor recalled that no one answered the door when the wellness check was performed.
“I’m really angry, because I spoke up. Other people spoke up. And nothing happened,” the woman shared.
“If people knew the amount of tears and time spent talking with law enforcement and CPS over the last year — I want people to understand that. And I want those kids to know that, because I think they thought they were abandoned.”
Another neighbor told the outlet that “everyone” believed the Ruby’s four minor children “were going to come out of that house with body bags” when police arrived at the scene on Aug. 30.
Ruby and Hildebrandt’s next bond hearings are set for Sept. 21.
SOURCE: New york post