Kevin Franke, the husband of the 8 Passengers YouTube channel creator, Ruby Franke, will be taking care of his children after his wife’s arrest on Wednesday, his attorney told Page Six.
Franke’s “urgent focus is simply to keep his children together under his fatherly care,” the attorney, Randy S. Kester, told the publication Thursday. When reached by Insider, Kevin referred questions to his attorney, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ruby Franke was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of two counts of aggravated child abuse, according to booking records from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities in Ivins, Utah — a small suburb in Washington County — were alerted that day after a malnourished child sought help from a neighbor, the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department told Insider.
Jodi Hildebrandt, Ruby’s business partner and a therapist who had her license put on probation, was also arrested. Neither Ruby Franke nor Hildebrandt have responded to requests for comment from Insider.
Kevin Franke has largely stayed out of the public eye in recent months. It’s unclear whether the couple is still together. The father was an associate professor at Brigham Young University in Utah, but a spokesperson told Insider his employment ended earlier this spring.
Ruby Franke garnered a large online following when she began vlogging her life as a wife and mom of six children on her YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, around 2015. At its peak, the channel had 2.5 million subscribers. But posting on the channel became irregular before it was shut down altogether this year.
Ruby Franke moved her focus to a new channel, called ConneXions, with Hildebrandt in the summer of 2022.
Ruby’s arrest came after viewers had already accused the parents of child abuse about three years ago. Some clips people found concerning included threatening to withhold dinner from her son Russell when he and Chad were play-fighting, when she took away Christmas from her youngest children due to “selfishness” and “egregious choices” they made, not giving the children breakfast until they did their chores, and telling them they didn’t deserve personal space.
The Frankes vehemently denied the accusations and also told Insider in a 2020 interview they gave their children “choices,” and they were just trying to teach them that actions had consequences.
“There are natural consequences to every choice we make, and if we communicate these when children make poor choices in behavior, the learning is profound,” Ruby said. “This way the child learns their choices have a direct impact.”
Franke, at the time, told Insider “slanderous videos, depicting us as villains” were creating a false narrative about his family.
“When you cut and slice and put it together, you can make even the most saintly person to look villainous,” he said. “They find any way, any justification, they can muster to criticize and attack us because they feel uncomfortable, ultimately seeing our family and our interactions. But the truth is our children are learning to become independent, self-sufficient, and are being taught how to pursue their own happiness through their own choices and their own relationships in life.”