Home U.S. NEWS YouTuber Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt remain in custody without bail, according to the judge

YouTuber Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt remain in custody without bail, according to the judge

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YouTuber Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt remain in custody without bail, according to the judge

Family vlogger Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt will continue to be held without bail until their next scheduled court date, Judge Eric Gentry said during a virtual hearing Friday.

Franke and Hildebrandt were each charged with six counts of child molestation by the Washington County District Attorney’s Office last week. Each count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The two were arrested Aug. 30 after police found Franke’s emaciated 12-year-old son with open wounds and duct tape on his ankles and wrists after he escaped from Hildebrandt’s home. Franke’s 10-year-old daughter was found at Hildebrandt’s home in a similarly malnourished condition.

Multiple media outlets reported that the livestream of the hearing in St. George experienced technical difficulties after over 1,000 people – including NBC News – attempted to watch. The start of the hearing was ultimately delayed.

Ruby Franke (right) and business partner Jodi Hildebrandt speak during an Instagram video posted to her @moms_of_truth account.  (@moms_of_truth via Instagram)

Ruby Franke (right) and business partner Jodi Hildebrandt speak during an Instagram video posted to her @moms_of_truth account. (@moms_of_truth via Instagram)

Judge John Walton will now oversee Franke and Hildebrandt’s cases, according to Tania Mashburn, a spokeswoman for the Utah State Courts. Her next hearing is scheduled for September 21st.

Franke rose to fame in 2015 with the now-removed YouTube channel “8 Passengers,” which featured her, her husband Kevin, and their six children.

Four of the six children are minors and have now been placed under the care of the Utah Department of Children and Family Services.

She frequently collaborated with Hildebrandt on parenting and relationship advice videos for ConneXions, Hildebrandt’s life coaching service. The ministry has come under fire in the past for its extreme teachings, including rejecting children who do not adhere to their faith.

NBC News affiliate KSL in Salt Lake City reported that attorneys for Franke and Hildebrandt said they would soon file motions to address the decision denying them bail in the case.

Douglas Terry, the attorney representing Hildebrandt, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. A representative from the law firm of Franke’s attorney, LaMar Winward, declined to comment.

Police visited Franke’s household in September 2022 after a neighbor called and reported that Franke had left her children alone for several days to spend time with Hildebrandt. A police officer noticed the children, but they refused to open the door, according to a police report obtained by NBC News.

Police Lt. Warren Foster previously told NBC News that authorities have made several attempts to investigate the allegations. He added that inquiries from the Department of Children and Family Services have yielded no results. DCFS was also reportedly called into the Franke household in 2020.

A DCFS spokeswoman previously declined to comment, citing confidentiality and privacy regulations.

DCFS can be held accountable by an independent ombudsman who investigates child protection complaints against the agency. DCFS also must answer to a review panel made up of state lawmakers, the Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel, which can make recommendations.

Rep. Christine Watkins, a chairwoman of the panel, said Friday that she was aware of the Franke case through news reports and planned to contact DCFS with her own questions about the events.

“I had concerns when I heard about the case. It wasn’t just neighbors calling, but also older siblings,” she added. “It sounds like these kids are in pretty bad shape. And we certainly have the right to bring it to the attention of DCFS to find out what might have gone wrong.”

She also questioned whether Franke’s status as a well-known YouTube vlogger and the appearance she projected about her family might have influenced child welfare investigations.

“If someone has the resources, they can cover up and obscure a lot of things,” Watkins said. “Even when children go to court, they can be told not to say anything. You can be intimidated by the situation.”

The Daily Mail reported that Franke appeared via video from a Utah prison on Thursday for a separate juvenile court hearing.

Mashburn confirmed the hearing took place but did not confirm details from the news report, telling NBC News that it was “a child welfare case and the recordings are private.” According to KSL, the next preliminary hearing in juvenile court is scheduled for September 18th.

This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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