Recently released police bodycam footage shows the moment police found two of YouTuber Ruby Franke's children at a neighbour's house, as well as the moment the neighbour learned the influencer was allegedly keeping her younger children restrained in her home.
The police responded after Ms Franke's 12-year-old boy escaped his home through a window and ran to a neighbour asking for food and water. They found the child "abnormally thin and weak," and with restraint marks on his body, according to court documents.
Once police learned what had happened, officers in American Fork were sent to the home of Pam Bodtcher, one of Ms Franke's friends, in order to locate her other children.
The footage, obtained by CourtTV, shows police arriving at the neighbour's home and verifying that one of Ms Franke's daughters is at the house. When Ms Bodtcher says she is, an officer takes her to a cruiser for questioning.
The neighbours were initially confused as to why police were executing a warrant at their home, with the father of the household suggesting he would contact an attorney, but police soon revealed why they were there; Ms Franke was under investigation for child abuse.
An officer tells Ms Bodtcher that one of Ms Franke's children was found "in a safe," and the woman appears shocked by the revelation.
At one point she tells the officer that two of Ms Franke's girls were staying with her. Both girls were brought outside to wait for the Utah Department of Child and Family Services.
Two of #YouTube star #RubyFranke's eight children were found at her friend's home after her son escaped and ran to a neighbor's house for help. Franke was arrested and charged with child abuse. Bodycam video shows police questioning the kids' caretaker. pic.twitter.com/Air4nGRw5W
— Court TV (@CourtTV) October 24, 2023
Ms Bodtcher told police that Ms Franke had asked for her help due to a "family emergency" that required her to go to St George, and asked if she would watch her girls. She drove to Ms Franke's house to pick up the two girls and took them out for ice cream before having the girls help her clean her house.
She told officers that the girls frequently assisted her at her home.
Ms Bodtcher told the officers that she met Ms Franke through the Connexions program, a life-coaching service run by Ms Franke's business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt. Ms Hildebrant and Ms Franke were both charged with six counts of felony child abuse relating to the children who were allegedly restrained and malnourished.
No charges were brought against Ms Bodtcher, and Ms Franke's children were taken into custody by the Department of Children and Family Services.
Both Ms Franke and Ms Hildebrandt were scheduled to have court appearances earlier this month, but their attorneys requested a delay until "after 5 October."