Ruby Franke, the former mom vlogger behind the wildly popular YouTube channel 8 Passengers, has been sentenced to four terms of one to 15 years, for a total of four to 60 years in prison. How much time she will spend behind bars will be determined by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

During her Tuesday, February 20, hearing, Ruby tearfully apologized to her children, telling them she “took from [them] all that was soft, and safe, and good,” per a livestream broadcast from the Utah court.

Franke’s sentencing came after she pleaded guilty to four of the six counts of aggravated child abuse against her on December 18, 2023.

The former YouTuber’s plea agreement detailed her “physical torture” of one of her sons, including kicking the young boy, holding him underwater, and forcing him to perform manual labor outside “for an extended period of time,” per The Salt Lake Tribune.

However, Franke, 42, did not take full responsibility for her crimes, claiming at the time that she was emotionally manipulated by her former business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt. Her attorney, LaMar Winward, alleged that “prolonged isolation resulted in Ms. Franke being subjected to a distorted sense of morality, shaped by Ms. Hildebrandt’s influence.”

Franke’s online empire, which was built on her once-wholesome image of an attentive mother who documented the daily lives of her six children, came crumbling down in the summer of 2023.

On August 30, Ruby was arrested after two of her minor children were found “emaciated” and with open wounds after her 12-year-old son, Russell, went to a neighbor’s house asking for food and water.

During the course of their investigation, police discovered that Russell and Eve, Franke’s 10-year-old daughter, had been staying with Jodi at the time of their discovery. Officials recovered multiple pairs of handcuffs, tape, ropes, and bandages inside Jodi’s home.

Later, Franke’s two other young children, Abby and Julie, were found safe at the home of Pam Bodtcher, an employee of Franke and Hildebrandt’s counseling company ConneXions. All four of Franke’s minor children were placed into the care of the state of Utah after their mother’s arrest.

Both Franke and Hildebrandt, 54, were subsequently charged with six counts of felony child abuse each. Like Franke, Hildebrandt pleaded guilty to four of these counts on December 27, 2023.

One night before Franke’s sentencing, her estranged husband, Kevin Franke, released a statement to Law & Crime Network through his lawyer which called the treatment of his children at Franke’s hands “horrific and inhumane, both physically and psychologically.”

The attorney’s February 19 statement concluded with, “Kevin remains focused on the rehabilitation of these sweet and vulnerable children so that they might return to a normal life as soon as possible.”

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