Ruby Franke’s neighbors are “breathing a collective sigh of relief” after the YouTuber’s arrest on child abuse charges.
Members of the Springville, Utah, community had previously warned the state’s Division of Child and Family Services about the 41-year-old, according to NBC News.
A female neighbor, who spoke anonymously to the outlet Saturday, claimed that a wellness check was performed on the Franke home following her September 2022 call to Child Protective Services — but no one answered the door.
“I’m really angry, because I spoke up. Other people spoke up. And nothing happened,” the woman said.
“If people knew the amount of tears and time spent talking with law enforcement and CPS over the last year — I want people to understand that. And I want those kids to know that, because I think they thought they were abandoned.”
Notably, a source told the outlet that the “8 Passengers” host kicked her husband, Kevin Franke, out of their house last year.
A male neighbor told NBC News that “everyone … thought” the couple’s four minor children — Abby, 16, Julie, 14, Russell, 12, and Eve, 9 — “were going to come out of that house with body bags” when police showed up to arrest Ruby last Wednesday.
Not only did he accuse the influencer, who is also the mother of Shari, 20, and Chad, 18, of punishing her kids by withholding food, but he said she once “took Christmas away” from them.
“She would say things like ‘They’re not repenting correctly,’ which is a Mormon term for ‘they’re sinning,’” he recalled. “Just complete insanity.”
The resident went on to claim that Ruby would leave the little ones home alone for weeks, which prompted Eve to knock on doors looking for playmates.
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“She would just … say, ‘Hi, can your kids play?’” he said. “And we’re like, ‘Well, they’re at school. They won’t be home for three or four hours.’ And she’d be like, ‘I’ll wait.’ She’s, like, this lost child.”
Since Ruby was arrested under suspicion of aggravated child abuse — alongside her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt — her sisters and eldest daughter have all spoken out against her.
Siblings Ellie Mecham, Bonnie Hoellein and Julie Deru said in a joint statement Thursday that they “kept quiet” for years with their nieces and nephews’ safety in mind.
In a subsequent YouTube video, Hoellein claimed they did “as much as [they] could” to help the kids.
As for Shari, Ruby’s eldest child wrote via Instagram that she had been “trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this.”
Her dad, for his part, spoke out via lawyer Randy S. Kester, sharing his “urgent focus … to keep his children together under his fatherly care.”
Page Six confirmed Friday that Kevin and Ruby are still legally married.
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