A Utah mother of six who gave parenting advice via the once-popular YouTube channel "8 Passengers" made a court appearance on charges that she and the owner of a relationship counseling business abused and starved her two young children, Scripps News reports. The proceedings were delayed by 45 minutes after more than 1,300 people sought to log in to watch the virtual hearing, said Tania Mashburn of the Utah State Courts. Ruby Franke, 41, and Jodi Hildebrandt, 54, were charged with six felony counts of aggravated child abuse after their arrests on Aug. 30 at Hildebrandt's house in the southern Utah city of Ivins.
Both appeared before Judge Eric Gentry via video from jail wearing orange striped uniforms. Their attorneys waived reading of the charges and the women did not enter pleas. Gentry ordered them to remain jailed without bail. Due to the strong interest in the case — which also included people calling in to listen to the hearing — officials allowed about 50 people in the courtroom as well, Mashburn said. The charges were filed after Franke's 12-year-old son escaped Hildebrandt's house and asked a neighbor to call police, according to the 911 call released by the St. George Police Department. The boy was emaciated and had duct tape around his ankles and wrists, but wouldn't say why.