Ruby Franke, the Utah parenting blogger accused of abusing her six children with her blogging co-host — and co-defendant — Jodi Hildebrandt, appeared in court on Monday and entered a plea deal.
Franke, 41, pleaded guilty to four of six counts of second-degree aggravated child abuse in a St. George courtroom.
“With my deepest regret and sorrow for my family and my children, guilty,” Franke said when the judge asked how she pleaded to the last and sixth count of second-degree child abuse.
Franke and Hildebrandt, 45, together ran a parenting and lifestyle YouTube channel and were each charged with six counts of child abuse in September after police rescued two of Franke’s children, who appeared malnourished and neglected, from Hildebrandt’s home Aug. 30.
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Franke’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 20.
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One of Hildebrandt’s neighbors reported the abuse to police after one of Franke’s sons showed up on his doorstep.
“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 an August 911 call reporting the alleged abuse obtained by Fox News Digital. “He’s emaciated. He’s got tape around his legs. He’s hungry, and he’s thirsty.”
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The boy apparently told the neighbor that even though he came from Hildebrandt’s house, his mother is Ruby Franke, who lives in a different town. Police would later locate Franke’s four other children at different locations, according to a police report. The boy also told police he climbed through Hildebrandt’s window to escape and get help.
After rescuing Franke’s youngest children from Hildebrandt’s home Aug. 30, police from Springfield and other local agencies began to search for her other four kids, who were not at Hildebrandt’s home at the time. They made contact with the two eldest children, Chad and Shari Franke — both living away from home at the time of the incident — in an effort to find the other two juveniles.
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Authorities eventually located the two children at another adult’s house in American Fork, Utah.
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Both Franke and Hildebrandt were initially charged with two counts of child abuse, but authorities later added four additional child abuse charges to each suspect. Franke’s husband, Kevin Franke, is not mentioned in any of the unredacted portions of the police reports.
“Kevin was a great neighbor and loving father,” a neighbor previously told Fox News Digital. “He was always seen outside with his kids, walking the dog, or chatting with neighbors. For a short time, he was a ‘moderator’ in the ConneXions Facebook group, then that ‘job’ was removed and he was also removed from the house. Once he was gone, it went downhill.”
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