A Utah parenting and lifestyle blogger recently accused of child abuse suffered a “life-threatening medical injury” in jail, according to court documents.
Jodi Hildebrandt and her business partner Ruby Franke, who ran a joint parenting YouTube page called ConneXions Classroom, were charged with six counts of child abuse each after Utah police located two of Franke’s six children, who were malnourished and emaciated, at Hildebrandt’s home on Aug. 30.
Hildebrandt’s attorney, Douglas Terry, on Friday filed a motion for an expedited detention hearing after Hildebrandt “experienced a life threatening medical issue resulting in her hospitalization for several days.”
Terry is also requesting a “special setting for the Court to hear the issue of Defendant’s detention.” Hildebrandt’s attorney did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News Digital.
Franke’s attorney, LaMar Winward, also filed a motion on Friday for an expedited detention hearing because “it is believed that both” Hildebrandt’s and Franke’s “cases should be heard at the same time,” the motion filed in Franke’s case read. Franke’s counsel also had “a longstanding family vacation” scheduled during the time that her detention hearing is currently scheduled. Winward has declined to comment on charges filed against his client at this time.
Santa Clara-Ivins police initially responded to Hildebrandt’s Utah residence on the evening of Aug. 30 after receiving a dispatch call about a juvenile asking for help.
“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,” a man said in a 911 call obtained by Fox News Digital. “He’s emaciated. He’s got tape around his legs. He’s hungry, and he’s thirsty.
“He asked us to call the police. So he’s very afraid,” the man added, later naming Hildebrandt as the neighbor in question. The boy later told him that even though he came from Hildebrandt’s house, his mother is Ruby Franke and he does not live in the area.
One of Franke’s six children apparently escaped Hildebrandt’s home in Ivins through a window and asked a neighbor for help, according to a probable cause affidavit from the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department.
Upon arrival at Hildebrandt’s home, police noticed that the child had “wounds” and was severely malnourished, so they took him to a hospital for treatment. He “was placed on a medical hold due to his deep lacerations from being tied up with rope and from his malnourishment,” an affidavit states.
Law enforcement located another one of Franke’s children — also malnourished — inside Hildebrandt’s home after the first child contacted police. The second child “initially refused medical” assistance but was later taken to a hospital, the affidavit states.
Police rescued a total of six children from Hildebrandt’s Washington County home.
“Ruby Franke was seen on a YouTube video filmed in Jodi Hildebrandt’s downstairs, which was posted two days [prior to their arrest],” the affidavit says. It further states that Franke was “present in the home and having knowledge of the abuse, malnourishment, and neglect” of her two children at Hildebrandt’s house.
Police requested that Franke and Hildebrandt be held without bail.
In one of Franke’s parenting videos, she discussed her decision to withhold Christmas presents from her two youngest children to teach them a behavioral lesson. In another, she threatened to cut off a doll’s head.
Internet sleuths on TikTok and YouTube quickly descended upon Franke’s and Hildebrandt’s social media pages following their arrests to uncover alarming statements made by the two influencers on their public platforms.
“My kids are literally starving,” Franke, wearing red lipstick, said in one video in front of a Christmas tree. “I hesitate to say this because this is going to sound like, I’m, like, a mean barbarian, but I told the kids, I said, ‘I’m not even going to let you eat breakfast until you get your chores done.'”
Franke and Hildebrandt’s charges include “causing or permitting serious physical injury to the [two juvenile] 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,” according to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office.