8 Times Ruby Franke Treated Her Kids Horribly In Her Videos Before Her Arrest — And CPS Did Nothing About It

The details of the '8 Passengers' YouTuber's arrest shocked many. But the evidence of her abusing her children was right in plain sight.

Ruby Franke, 8 Passengers, YouTube, child abuse Ruby Franke @8passengers / YouTube; Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department

By now, many of us have likely heard the news that former YouTuber Ruby Franke has been arrested on child abuse charges after police discovered a malnourished child with open wounds and duct tape on his arms and ankles escaped from her home on Wednesday, August 30, 2023. 

While our jaws likely dropped upon hearing the disturbing details of the arrest, the nature of Franke’s charges do not come as a surprise.


For years, Franke’s children, family, friends, and viewers of her YouTube channel have been trying to get the police involved due to the severe mistreatment of her children — and all the evidence they needed was seemingly depicted publicly in her popular videos. 

Ruby Franke, her husband, Kevin, and their six children — Shari, Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell, and Eve — are a Utah-based Mormon family who gained popularity by uploading videos to their YouTube channel "8 Passengers" in early 2015. The channel was deleted earlier this year. 

The videos documented the family’s everyday life, such as shopping trips, dinners, and vacations. Some of their content appeared to be the typical interactions we see with family members. 


However, their 2 million subscribers began to notice sinister details in the videos that implied that the Franke children were being abused and neglected. 

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The abuse ranges from making embarrassing remarks about her children on camera to enforcing physical punishments on them, but all instances are nevertheless disturbing.

Here are 8 times Ruby Franke treated her kids horribly in her YouTube videos. 

1. She told her sons they would ‘lose the privilege to eat dinner.’ 

In one of the "8 Passengers" YouTube videos, Ruby Franke films her sons Russell and Chad horse-playing around on the floor before dinner time.

Although the boys are laughing and clearly engaging in playful brotherly behavior, their mother informs them that if they keep it up, they will “lose the privilege to eat dinner” with the rest of the family. 



2. She forced her daughter to sleep on the bathroom floor after she had wet the bed. 

Franke’s youngest daughter Eve woke her up in the middle of the night to tell her that she had wet the bed in her sleep.


After telling the world that Eve usually wets the bed “once every eight months,” Franke says that she told her daughter to “go sleep on the floor in the bathroom” in case she had another accident, instead of changing her into dry clothes and washing her sheets. 



3. She made her son do push-ups as a punishment for leaving his socks outside.

It is a given that as young children are growing up and learning new things, they are often forgetful. They may forget to put on their shoes before leaving the house or brush their teeth in the morning.

However, their actions are not malicious and they should not be subjected to any form of punishment. However, Ruby Franke expressed otherwise. 




After her son Russell accidentally left a pair of his socks outside, she demanded that he drop down to the ground and give her 10 push-ups. As the little boy does so, Franke corrects his form and insists that he go down “even further” to the ground. 

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4. She took away her eldest son’s bed for 7 months as punishment and forced him to sleep on a bean bag. 

Not only did Franke’s son, Chad, lose his bedroom for months, but he also had his bed stripped away from him entirely. The teenager reveals that he lost his "right" to a bed after he pranked his younger brother, Russell, telling him that the family was going to Disneyland. 


As a result, Chad was not allowed to sleep in his bed and ultimately had to fall asleep in a bean bag every night chair for over seven months.



Perhaps what is even more disturbing is that as Chad is telling viewers about his sleeping arrangements, his mother sits beside him and laughs as if the punishment for her clearly exhausted son is a light-hearted joke.

5. She threatened to cut off the head of her toddler’s teddy bear as punishment for cutting items in the house with scissors. 

Young children will often mistake right from wrong as they are growing up, and it is their parents’ job to gently correct them. Franke’s approach to teaching her children is anything but gentle. In fact, it is rather frightening. 


After her toddler daughter Eve cut various items in her family’s home with a pair of scissors, Franke waved her favorite teddy bear in front of her face and threatened to cut its head off. A clearly terrified Eve bursts into tears. 



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6. She sent her 14-year-old son to a therapy camp for ‘troubled teens’ for 10 weeks. 

In the summer of 2019, many viewers of 8 Passengers noticed that 14-year-old Chad was absent from recent videos.


Ruby and Kevin Franke addressed the issue in one of their YouTube videos, telling viewers that they had sent their son to participate in the Anasazi Foundation Wilderness Therapy Program, an outdoor behavioral health program “designed for youths between the ages of 12-17 years old who are struggling with substance abuse, emotional or behavioral concerns.” 

Although Ruby and Kevin never clearly disclose what Chad did to land himself in the camp, Kevin claims that their decision to send their son away was the result of “an accumulation of things over years.”



“Chad needs to develop some very basic maturity and skills,” Kevin says, with Ruby adding that the program will allow Chad a “fresh start.” 


However, many Internet users who are familiar with the program argue that it does more harm for teenagers than good since the camp exposes them to emotional and physical abuse, further alienating them from their parents and embedding more trauma into their brains. 

7. She threatened to exclude her daughter from seeing a movie with the family simply because she asked what movie they were seeing. 

In one of the most bizarre forms of emotional abuse, Franke tells her daughter Eve that the family is going to the theatres to see a movie and tells her to put her shoes on.

When a curious Eve asks what the movie is, her mother accuses her of being “ungrateful” and calls for a babysitter to come look after Eve while the rest of the family goes to the movie. Eve repeatedly apologizes to Franke so she can go with them. 

“I’m not taking Eve [to the movie] unless you come to give me a huge apology,” Franke tells the little girl. “It was not very thankful of you. I was excited and I told you to go put on your shoes and your jacket to see a movie. And instead, you should say, ‘Okay!’ and be grateful instead of, ‘What movie?’ I’m not gonna take a girl whose not grateful.” 




Franke then tells Eve to “show some more gratitude” before forcing her to give her a hug and an apology. 

8. After catching her son on his phone at the dinner table, she and her husband took it and read his private text messages aloud. 

No phones at the dinner table is a popular rule that many families enforce in order to enjoy each other’s company better. However, that does not necessarily mean that parents should humiliate their children should they catch them on their phones at dinner. 

After a teenage Chad was caught texting on his cell phone at the dinner table, Kevin insisted that he hand his phone over. Instead of putting the phone away, Kevin begins to read Chad’s text messages aloud to the rest of the family and their YouTube viewers. 




The messages are clearly intended for a school crush and are deeply personal. An embarrassed Chad attempts to swipe the phone back from his father as his family laughs and teases him. 

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Franke's daughter Shari warned CPS for years about her mother's abuse. However, no action was taken.

After Franke’s arrest, along with her business partner and collaborator, Jodi Hildebrandt, many people felt as if they could breathe a sigh of relief. However, others are wondering why it took CPS and police so long to hear their concerns when all of the evidence was clear as day on their public YouTube videos. 


Franke’s eldest daughter, 20-year-old Shari, who cut contact with her mother years ago, allegedly contacted CPS and the police for years, alerting them about the abuse she and her siblings were subjected to. 

After her mother’s arrest, Shari took to her Instagram stories sharing that she and her family “are so glad justice is being served.”

“We’ve been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up,” she wrote. “Kids are safe, but there’s still a long road ahead. Please keep them in your prayers and also respect their privacy.” 

shari franke instagram post about mother ruby's abusePhoto: officialsharifranke / Instagram 


It is unclear who currently has custody of the Franke children. 

If we can learn anything from this tragic story, it is that we must always listen to victims of abuse and speak up before it is too late, even if it takes years for justice to be served. The fate of Ruby Franke’s children could have ended very differently had no one stepped in. 

If you suspect that a child has been, or is in danger of, abuse or neglect, contact your county’s Children's Protective Services 24-hour emergency response phone. You may also contact the police or county sheriff.

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.