The boy who escaped from Hildebrant’s house was “emaciated” and had open wounds

Cayenne pepper and honey were used to treat the boy’s wounds, search warrant documents state.

(Utah, 5th District Court) Ruby Franke (left) and Jodi Hildebrandt appear in 5th District Court in St. George on Friday, September 8, 2023. The two women are each charged with six felony counts of aggravated child abuse.

Ruby Franke’s 12-year-old son told police his mother’s business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, tied him with rope before he escaped from Hildebrandt’s home on Aug. 30 and asked a neighbor for food and water, like new Published police search warrant records show.

Hildebrandt, a licensed clinical mental health counselor, and Franke, a parenting YouTuber from Utah, were both arrested after the boy’s escape. A neighbor called police because the boy appeared malnourished and had duct tape on his ankles and wrists. The women were each accused of six serious cases of child abuse.

Search files released Wednesday show the boy “appeared emaciated” and was “unusually thin and weak” when officers arrived. Underneath the tape, first responders found open wounds that the boy said “they” — apparently referring to his mother and Hildebrandt — had used cayenne pepper and honey to treat.

Officers then went to Hildebrandt’s home and conducted a “search” to determine if anyone inside needed urgent medical attention. There they found Ruby Franke’s 10-year-old daughter, records show, and noted the child was “hesitant to speak to officers.” Police also identified what appeared to be a safe room in the basement, but it was locked, according to documents.

That’s when Santa Clara-Ivins City police applied for a search warrant for evidence related to child abuse, which a judge approved four minutes later, records show.

Items found in search

According to police, the 10-year-old girl also appeared to be malnourished. Both she and the boy were taken to a hospital for medical treatment. She and two of Franke’s other children have since been taken into state custody, charging documents say.

Search warrant records list items seized by police from the apartment, including two pairs of handcuffs; a bowl with red liquid and a metal spoon in it; Tape; cling film; at least three ropes; and, among other things, absorbent dressings and bandages.

Officers also executed a search warrant for electronic devices that police documents say may have been used to record abuse or injuries sustained as a result of abuse.

The boy who police spoke to first initially told officers that two of his siblings – a 10-year-old and a 14-year-old – had been at Hildebrandt’s house before he escaped, but authorities only found the youngest child as shown in the search warrant records.

Officers discovered that Ruby had left three of her children in Hildebrandt’s care. However, according to the documents, it is unclear for how long. The third child could not be found immediately, police wrote at the time.

Hildebrandt hands over the license

Until their arrest, Franke and Hildebrandt were running an online self-improvement program founded by Ivins called ConneXions, which, with its curriculum of workbooks, DVDs and podcasts, aimed to “help treat those who are lost and stranded in the darkness of distortion.” “. Website.

Hildebrandt has been a licensed clinical mental health counselor in Utah since 2005. On Tuesday, she agreed to voluntarily surrender her license as the child abuse case is adjudicated, meaning she will not be allowed to practice in any capacity, even if she is released from prison. Hildebrandt and Franke are currently being held without bail in Washington County.

Franke previously hosted a parenting advice YouTube channel called 8 Passengers, where she videoblogged the lives of her family – including her six children, herself and her husband Kevin. The channel was launched in 2015 and had more than 2 million followers before it was deleted last year. Kevin and Ruby Franke also separated last year, Kevin’s attorney said.

The family was criticized online for the parenting decisions shared on the channel. Ruby Franke once said she refused to bring her kindergarten child lunch that he had forgotten at home. The eldest daughter, a student at Brigham Young University, said in social media posts that she had cut off contact with her parents.

Two days before Franke’s 12-year-old son escaped, a video posted on YouTube showed Franke at Hildebrandt’s home, according to court documents. Investigators reviewed the footage as evidence that Franke had recently been at the Ivins’ home and knew about the apparent abuse, according to a probable cause statement.

Investigators also found used gauze in Hildebrandt’s bathroom, which they viewed as evidence that Hildebrandt knew about the apparent abuse, the statement said.

Hildebrandt and Franke are expected to appear in court sometime after October 5, but a specific hearing date has not yet been set.

Justin Scaccy

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