Inside Utah Momfluencer Ruby Franke's Horrific Diaries Which Reveal Full Extent of Abuse

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Washington County
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Washington County

On her popular and sometimes controversial YouTube channel, Ruby Franke meticulously documented family life with her husband and six children for millions of followers. But newly released handwritten journals reveal that the Utah mommy blogger also obsessively documented the harrowing months-long abuse she inflicted on her two young children she believed were “possessed” by the devil.

“I will not feed a demon,” Franke wrote in one July entry about her 12-year-old son.

Prosecutors allege that in addition to starving her kids, Franke and her business partner shaved the kids’ heads, subjected them to manual labor in the desert heat while barefoot, doused them in dirty mop water, forced them to perform wall sits for hours, and denied them beds to sleep in.

“If you can engage a weak-minded soul in a physical activity of obedience you can begin to break the bond Satan made w/ the weak,” Franke wrote in one journal entry.

In another entry, Franke writes how she shaved her son’s head after he refused to do any more “work” and started to cry. The next day, she wrote, the child tried to run away. “I told [him] that he emulates a snake. He slithers and sneaks around looking for opportunities when no one is watching,” the July 10 entry says.

Franke continued to attack her son, writing that he is a “compulsive liar” and admitting that she “never would have suspected the cold, dead heart [he] has.” In an entry the next day, she wrote that it was a “big day for evil” before describing how she pushed her son into a pool—while holding his nose and mouth—to help him.

In other entries, Franke describes her 10-year-old daughter as “manipulative” and how she forced her to stand in the rain for hours. She also wrote that she “doused” the little girl with “dog wash” water for complaining about not eating for days.

Mommy Vlogger Blames ‘Dark Delusion’ at Child Abuse Sentencing

The abuse is among several new details revealed in a slew of records released by the Washington County Attorney’s Office on Friday. The records also include police reports, crime scene videos, interrogation tapes, and body camera videos that showcased the child abuse investigation.

The heavily redacted journal entries include a timeline of the abuse, as well as Franke’s escalating plunge into a renegade sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The investigation found that religious extremism motivated Ms. Franke and Ms. Hildebrandt to inflict this horrific abuse,” prosecutors said in a Friday statement. “The women appeared to fully believe that the abuse they inflicted was necessary to teach the children how to properly repent for imagined “sins” and to cast the evil spirits out of their bodies.”

Franke, a 41-year-old mother of six known for her YouTube channel 8 Passengers, was sentenced to at least four years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of second-degree felony child abuse. Her business partner, 54-year-old mental health counselor Jodi Hildebrandt, was also sentenced to the same jail time for her role.

At sentencing, Franke apologized to her children and said she was “disoriented” because she “believed dark was light and right was wrong.” “For the past four years, I’ve chosen to follow counsel and guidance that has led me into a dark delusion,” Franke added. “My distorted version of reality went largely unchecked as I would isolate from anyone who challenged me.”

The investigation into Franke began in August after her malnourished and bruised 12-year-old son escaped through a window and knocked on nearby homes until a neighbor answered. The boy then asked a neighbor to take him to the nearest police station.

In a video, the boy is asked about the open wounds and lacerations on his ankles and wrists, which he says he got “because of me.” Later, the boy told investigators that Hildebrandt bound his arms and feet to weights on the ground and used honey and cayenne pepper mixture on his wounds.

Authorities later found Franke’s daughter inside an empty closet. Body-camera footage shows police spending four hours trying to coax the little girl out of the closet by offering to sit with her, bringing her pizza, and playing music.

Since her arrest, Franke’s husband, Kevin, has filed for divorce. In a police interview, he explained that he did not know what was happening to his youngest children because he had separated from Franke in July 2022 and moved out.

​​“Everything you’re telling me just sounds like a made-up story, like, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Kevin Franke said in the police interview. “It sounds like a horror movie.”

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