What we lose in the Shadows (A father and daughter True Crime Podcast)

Ruby Franke: A story of narcissism and child abuse.

March 05, 2024 Jameson Keys & Caroline
Ruby Franke: A story of narcissism and child abuse.
What we lose in the Shadows (A father and daughter True Crime Podcast)
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What we lose in the Shadows (A father and daughter True Crime Podcast)
Ruby Franke: A story of narcissism and child abuse.
Mar 05, 2024
Jameson Keys & Caroline

Send us a Text Message.

 This week we traverse this heartrending terrain, beginning with the case of mommy vlogger Ruby Frankie. Her egregious parenting tactics, which incited widespread fury, raise pivotal questions about the unseen scars inflicted upon children in the name of discipline, and the haunting legacy such actions leave.

Caroline and I also confront the grim tale of Ruby Frankie and Jody Hildebrandt, whose online platform became a facade for unthinkable acts of cruelty. Our conversation takes an investigative turn as we recount the neighbor's critical role in unveiling the truth and the ensuing battle for justice. We grapple with the specter of narcissistic parenting and its selective devastation, contrasting against the legal system's capacity to advocate for those too small to stand for themselves. This candid dialogue seeks not just to uncover but to provoke a deeper contemplation on safeguarding our most vulnerable against the silent epidemic of child abuse.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/10447242/ruby-franke-youtuber-sentenced-child-abuse/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-narcissist-in-your-life/202202/8-types-of-children-scapegoated-in-narcissistic-families#:~:text=In%20simple%20terms%2C%20a%20scapegoat,singled%20out%20for%20ongoing%20scapegoating.



Contact us at: whatweloseintheshadows@gmail.com



Background music by Michael Shuller Music

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

 This week we traverse this heartrending terrain, beginning with the case of mommy vlogger Ruby Frankie. Her egregious parenting tactics, which incited widespread fury, raise pivotal questions about the unseen scars inflicted upon children in the name of discipline, and the haunting legacy such actions leave.

Caroline and I also confront the grim tale of Ruby Frankie and Jody Hildebrandt, whose online platform became a facade for unthinkable acts of cruelty. Our conversation takes an investigative turn as we recount the neighbor's critical role in unveiling the truth and the ensuing battle for justice. We grapple with the specter of narcissistic parenting and its selective devastation, contrasting against the legal system's capacity to advocate for those too small to stand for themselves. This candid dialogue seeks not just to uncover but to provoke a deeper contemplation on safeguarding our most vulnerable against the silent epidemic of child abuse.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/10447242/ruby-franke-youtuber-sentenced-child-abuse/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-narcissist-in-your-life/202202/8-types-of-children-scapegoated-in-narcissistic-families#:~:text=In%20simple%20terms%2C%20a%20scapegoat,singled%20out%20for%20ongoing%20scapegoating.



Contact us at: whatweloseintheshadows@gmail.com



Background music by Michael Shuller Music

Speaker 1:

Good morning and welcome to what we Lose in the Shadows.

Speaker 2:

A Father Daughter True Crime Podcast.

Speaker 1:

My name is Jameson Keyes.

Speaker 2:

I'm Caroline.

Speaker 1:

Well, good morning Caroline. How are you? I'm good, how are you Very good? It's a bright, beautiful, sunny day here.

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

Especially for a late February, early March it's crazy nice weather.

Speaker 2:

It is, which is really nice in the moment, but also scary because of climate change. So not, uh, not like that.

Speaker 1:

Oh, wow, I wasn't looking quite that deep. Yeah, sorry.

Speaker 2:

But it is like it's February. You know what I mean. Right, like it's actually scary.

Speaker 1:

Well, no, no, I grew up in Pittsburgh, as you were born there too, in the Pittsburgh area, and winters used to be February was the worst month of the year. Yes, it was. It was terrible, cold, snowy, icy, awful. And even now I think their weather I don't think is that bad at this point too.

Speaker 2:

So you know, climate change a real thing, literally, and it's seen even, like you know, in Rochester, new York, where I lived for a minute.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Couple minutes. Couple minutes.

Speaker 2:

The, you know the people who grew up around there. They noticed climate change, you know, 10 years ago, because it stopped snowing as much. It used to be like feet, like five feet of snow.

Speaker 1:

I remember you showed me the campus when you first started going there and you said you know that's a tunnel that goes from one building to another. I'm like, oh my God.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's because of the snow. But the snow, like you know, now they have like a foot two feet. That's a big difference. Yeah, for sure, the huge difference.

Speaker 1:

For sure.

Speaker 2:

It's scary.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Hey, one more thing, Let me. Let me only plug one more thing here. Of course, my book the Vanishing Ballerina is available on all the major platforms, whether that be Barnes, Noble, whether that be Amazon. It's also available on TargetandWalmartcom, and even Thriftbooks has it.

Speaker 2:

Oh wow, that's amazing.

Speaker 1:

So, and just this past week I launched a new website, so if you want to buy the book directly, you can do that. It's on jamisonkeyscom, so visit that site and you can also. I have my Facebook page available through there and also you can always email us as well.

Speaker 2:

And make sure you read and write the book.

Speaker 1:

Oh yes, please, If you're on a good read, please look at the book and write it for me. That'd be great.

Speaker 2:

Trigger warnings today are child abuse and torture. Today we're going to be discussing Ruby Frankie, and she's been in the media quite frequently recently because, you know, everything just happened within like the past year or two and she was just sentenced. So I'm going to run through all of the facts about that case so we can discuss. So Ruby Frankie was a popular mommy vlogger in 2015. She would vlog about her days taking care of her six children in Springville, utah. Springville is a tiny lakeside town about an hour away from Salt Lake City, close to Provo, utah.

Speaker 2:

She and her family were of the LDS church, so Mormons, which is very popular there in Utah, of course, so she ran a very popular account called Eight Passengers so all the members of her family. She amassed over 2 million followers that were tuning into her YouTube videos by 2020. Wow, it's a lot of people In 2020,. Some of Ruby's followers grew concerned about what some of her children were saying in the videos. One of her children mentioned that they had been banned from sleeping in their bed, so they had been sleeping on a bean bag.

Speaker 1:

Lovely.

Speaker 2:

Which is really strange. For a punishment to disrupt a child's sleep that's I mean, that's considered torture. It's not. That is not a punishment to disrupt a in their metal devices Someone's sleep is it's very, oh yes, sleep deprivation.

Speaker 1:

Psychological torture. Yes, sleep deprivation that is used by well quote-unquote, was used by different, you know, cia type organizations, kgb and so on.

Speaker 2:

Sleep deprivation will break someone's resolve down faster than almost anything else literally, because that's when your body Retires, right, that's when your body Mends itself, heals. Reset your psyche and all that stuff, yeah exactly, yeah, without sleep, I mean you're, you're literally like a human zombie, right.

Speaker 1:

Like you need that to To rest, relax, recharge, you know, heal your body, heal your mind, like to take a break right when I pledged actually in a fraternity, oh God, back a million years ago in college, one of the things it wasn't it wasn't exactly sleep deprivation, it was kind of. I mean, we were constantly doing things. They keep. It keeps up, really sleep pepper. Well, I know, but I didn't Completely not let us sleep. It's just they didn't let us sleep that long during hell week. Oh, so yeah yeah, fun stuff.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I, you know, we'll do another. We'll do another Episode about one of the fraternity or sororities, because they also have some really Creepy criminal behavior tied into their Sun. Do some do.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, the vast majority of Greek organizations are really, you know, pretty pretty. You know it's a college thing, it's social, it's, you know, meeting other people, it's a lot of partying and so on, and I did enjoy my time in the fraternity. I was, I think, was in fraternity for three years. Which one alpha fight, delta.

Speaker 2:

I asked like I know, but I know someone will know right. Well, you've seen my, my fraternity jacket, I know but I have no, but I don't know, I have no touchstone.

Speaker 1:

Eventually I did become the pledge master and I did away with anything sleep, you know anything. That was kind of you know Embarrassing anything. Yeah, I kind of you know to pop people asleep and I think that's weird.

Speaker 2:

It's weird as fuck. Yeah, I don't understand why people do that. It's so weird. Anyways, we'll do a hazing episode another time, okay, cuz they're definitely have been like major deaths that have happened, hazing, which is scary anyways. So I Didn't mention how long the punishment had lasted, so the child was forced to sleep on a bean bag, which is not very comfortable. No, bad for your back a very bad for your back and as a child, when you need the most sleep in your life, right? I Guess how long this lasted a week, seven months.

Speaker 2:

seven months yes.

Speaker 1:

Oh god.

Speaker 2:

It's really bad. Yeah, so take the trigger warnings in this episode Seriously, because they, like the abuse of these these children went through is actually horrible. So there were more allegations of other types of disciplinary actions disciplinary in in parentheses, like are in quotation marks, because that is, this is not disciplinary, no, this is torturous and Abusive. Then I do that in prisons. Yeah, that's a very good point. You have a bed in prison, right? It's disturbing. So Other actions that Ruby Frankie took to try to punish her children was with holding food and water. Water, water is scary, sending one of her children to a wilderness camp, and so that topic. Have you heard of a wilderness camp?

Speaker 1:

I.

Speaker 2:

Maybe what do?

Speaker 1:

you mean by wilderness camp?

Speaker 2:

So they have these camps, typically in Utah actually, and like other kind of not rural but like mountainous, sure, landscapes where like it's hard to Climb out of, you know, it's hard to get back to civilization. So if a child is misbehaving for a long period of time, sometimes parents are Distraught, they don't know what to do, right, you know, if their child is just Like acting out, they don't know how. To sure, you know also this has happened for conversion therapy for, like gay children as well, queer children.

Speaker 1:

Let's do something on that at one point.

Speaker 2:

We'll have to do something on that. Yeah, it's really crazy. But so they take them to these wilderness camps and the people there are Are Abusing the children basically. So they, they they're forced to like hike and they're forced to, you know, do manual labor and this and that, and you know, some of them market themselves as like, kind of like a camp that just promotes discipline. But I mean, many children have died at these camps. Yeah, many children have Come out and spoken against these camps, saying that they were abused, they were sexually abused. They were, they were forced to, you know, forego water for days. Like I mean, it's really, really bad. Like these are not On the up and up.

Speaker 1:

There's a huge divide between discipline and, you know, abuse right, I mean, it's scary.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so you know she would sense. She sent one of her children to a wilderness camp, having the children run barefoot on gravel for miles until their feet bled. What the she's? She's a monster. Yes, yes, like it's unreal Forcing them to do manual labor outside in the scorching heat summer in Utah.

Speaker 1:

Oh god without water. You remember that yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's like 104 degrees.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we lived in Utah for one year.

Speaker 2:

No trees.

Speaker 1:

You know, there's no trees. There were trees where we were, but that's not.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there was not a lot of shade.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and without water for hours Just ferociously on up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they would get really bad sunburns Having them jump into cactuses. Yeah, it's just it's just sadist. She's yeah, exactly, and that's just to name a few. So I mean, it's it's really Upsetting, like what she did to her, her children. It's, it's really disturbing. So some of her followers and other concerned citizens decided to start a petition for an investigation into Ruby's alleged child abuses.

Speaker 1:

Good for them, mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm Ruby and her husband cabin posted a video saying that the comments were taken out of context. I Don't know how any of this would be okay in any context, but so basically these were just rumors. The only thing that was actually posted on her page was her child saying that he hadn't slept in his bed for seven months.

Speaker 1:

And that didn't have itself as bad.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and they said that was taken out of context and it's like Was he in his bed?

Speaker 1:

No, well then it's not out of context, Right exactly?

Speaker 2:

But it gets worse. So this went on. People grew more and more concerned. The popularity of the page was going down as words spread about potential child abuse. The Frankie separated in 2022 and Kevin moved out of their house. Ruby then deleted her channel on YouTube in 2022. Ruby needed a job at this point, so she became a mental health coach. It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. Oh my God. Can you imagine having a mental health coach that abuses her children?

Speaker 1:

That's scary, no.

Speaker 2:

And she's just messing around in your head. Oh my God.

Speaker 1:

You know what you need to do. I think what you really need to do, Carolyn, is throw yourself into that cactus. What are you talking about?

Speaker 2:

I mean, it's scary. So during her time in mental health coaching, she worked at a place called Connections under a woman named Jody Hildebrand. The two became fast friends and started a new YouTube channel together and an Instagram called Moms of Truth. How terrifying is that? That is like creepy. That sounds abusive. I don't know why they thought that was yeah, that was a good idea. Okay, they offered her parenting classes to teach people how to parent their children, I mean.

Speaker 1:

It's almost laughable.

Speaker 2:

It is because it's like the obvious narcissism here that they think they're right and found each other, which is a horrible pairing Like oh God. So later on, the Frankie's eldest daughter, who was in college at the time, and some other neighbors called the authorities to report that her siblings have been left alone for long periods of time at young ages. Right, that happened frequently, and one instance that really broke the case was when the police were called. They arrived on the scene and they found Ruby's 12-year-old son with open wounds on his body and duct tape around his wrists. Yeah, he had climbed through a window and asked the neighbors for food and water. Oh my God, isn't that so upsetting.

Speaker 1:

It is so upsetting.

Speaker 2:

He, literally, he just wanted food and water.

Speaker 1:

Oh my God, that makes me so angry.

Speaker 2:

It's so sad, like it is truly, truly despicable. They also looked in the house, thankfully, and found her 10-year-old daughter extremely malnourished and abused as well. So these are the youngest children in the family. The children were taken to the hospital and treated for severe malnourishment, and the son for lacerations from being tied up with rope. Unbelievable, it was just really horrible. The boy later said that Ruby would put cayenne pepper in his wounds from time to time. For what? As a punishment.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I guess.

Speaker 2:

I mean, just like you know, when you get salt in a cut, yes, it's painful, it hurts, it stings. So cayenne pepper.

Speaker 1:

Even worse.

Speaker 2:

In a wound that's probably infected, because I don't think she's cleaning it. You know what I mean. It's so horribly fucked up.

Speaker 1:

It sounds like she went to the Marquis de Saade School of Child Rearing.

Speaker 2:

I mean that's insane, I don't know what that is, it's the root word of sadist. Oh.

Speaker 1:

Sorry.

Speaker 2:

So Child Protective Services took the two abused children and the other two children who were under 18 out of her care immediately. Thank God, On August 30th 2023, Ruby Franky was finally arrested after that incident.

Speaker 1:

Yay.

Speaker 2:

Ruby was charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse. She pleaded guilty in court to four of the six. Jodi was charged for the same thing also six counts for abusing Ruby's children.

Speaker 1:

We don't know if Jodi had children, do we?

Speaker 2:

I don't know. Yeah, that's a good question, but I know she was abusing Ruby's children. I mean, wow, what?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I know Ruby obviously is actually a sadist because she wanted other people to abuse her children as well. So Ruby was sentenced to up to 15 years for each child she abused, so the two that they charged her with to be served consecutively. So up to 30 years. I do not think she's gonna serve all those years they typically don't and I don't think it was enough. She should have gotten at least 50 and died in prison.

Speaker 1:

Right, we don't know how old a woman she is to it.

Speaker 2:

Let's see.

Speaker 1:

She looked like she was in her 30s before she was 42.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, she's 42, so she serves half that 15 years she'll be out.

Speaker 1:

Nuts.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, scary.

Speaker 1:

There's. You see, I think there are things that are so severe child abuse, pedophilia, rape, you know obviously murder I think that there has to be minimum 30. Yeah your sentences for some of these things. That's awful, I mean it's truly, really, really upsetting. Right.

Speaker 2:

And I don't know how they decided on 15. I don't know if that was the maximum in the state.

Speaker 1:

Might be, might be.

Speaker 2:

But it's disturbing. Yeah, so her business partner and the woman complicit in the child abuse, jodi Hildebrandt, will also serve one to 15 years.

Speaker 1:

So she could be at five or one scary.

Speaker 2:

So Ruby chose two of her children and used them as their family scapegoat. This is commonly seen when one or both parents in a family have narcissistic personality traits. This means that the child or children that are unfairly targeted by one parent or all of the family members, this child will be the landing board for all of the narcissist's negative feelings. They will blame them for anything and everything that goes wrong in the family.

Speaker 2:

Kind of just singling them out, as this will happen to you unless you chose a line, but if something you know is wrong, they will find a way to twist it around and pin it on them.

Speaker 1:

Wow, that is. Yeah, that's paler main for the narcissist.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, it is. And you see it like. I mean, I've heard like friends' personal accounts, not with like this level of abuse, but with a lot of like mental abuse. And yeah, it's really common if you have like a parent who, like is a narcissist, doesn't want to apologize, ever doesn't want to. You know, see anyone else's point of view, there's so many like lists of personality traits to, like you know, be considered on the spectrum of like narcissism. So this scapegoating in a family was seen in the book the Child Called it. Did you ever read that book?

Speaker 1:

I did not no.

Speaker 2:

I read it as a child. Actually, it was in the library, the school library, yikes. Yeah, I know it was very disturbing. Basically, it was like I think it was like somewhat of a memoir of the author, who was like a scapegoat for his family. So all of his siblings, his mother, they all hated him. They abused him, they forced him to, like, live in the basement, they forced him to eat rotten food, they forced him to, you know, go to the bathroom in a bucket, like they forced him. It was just, it's really really disturbing. They wouldn't let him shower. All the kids at school hated him, like it's. It was really horrible, Sure, and we also saw this more recently in the case of Gabriel Hernandez, whose case was made into a Netflix documentary where his mom and her boyfriend would abuse him, beat him.

Speaker 2:

I think I don't know if they sexually assaulted him or not, but they definitely were abusive to him. They would lock him in a cabinet. Oh, this is what they did, that. They were turned on by the abuse, watching each other abuse the child. Isn't that the most disturbing thing?

Speaker 2:

I mean it's yeah, and so that case was particularly difficult to watch because the teacher called, called, called CBS. Like often he would come to school with, you know, bloody, like black and blue eyes. He would come to school with his head shaved in places, like it was just. He would come to school with burns, like really, really bad. And it's tough because CBS sometimes dropped the ball. You know they can't make things fit or they don't, you know, have enough social workers sometimes. And unfortunately, gabriel Hernandez was was murdered by his mom and her boyfriend. Good God, yeah. And it was horrible because there were so many signs, so many people called. I mean, it's just, it's a really disturbing Netflix documentary, but it is. It is so in Netflix, I think. But so those negative projections by one parent or multiple family members leads to poor self-esteem, of course, for the child and can cause a slew of mental health issues.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, for sure, Because the the chance of that child then replicating that when they're raising their own is probably released when that happens.

Speaker 2:

Oh, for sure, For sure. And it's like also, just like they are so broken, like they, you need like support system. And when you don't have one, and when you have the opposite in your family home, you know it leads a lot of children to commit suicide, to, you know, run away from home and they're at risk for homelessness or exploitation. It's, it's really unfortunate. So the biggest takeaway from this is, if you see someone abusing their child or suspect that someone may be abusing their child, call the police to investigate, call child protective services. I'm really glad that these young children in Ruby, frank, in the Frankie case, got out of that house of horrors.

Speaker 2:

But oftentimes, like we just discussed, you know, even if neighbors and friends call the police, not enough evidence is found or CPS isn't convinced of any wrongdoing or they slipped through the cracks, and you know it's a horrible thing to witness. And I really think that we just we have to stand up for the, for the children in our communities. You know, don't second guess yourself if you witness something heinous. And again I want to contrast that with, like actual parenting. Like you know, is it acceptable to yell at your child? I mean, people have varying like opinions on that. But that is not considered child abuse, you know, not. I mean it depends on how long and like for what, of course, but like, you know what I mean and what they're saying. And what they're saying, definitely what they're saying. But you know, it's really tough to be a parent.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I don't have children, but you know it's tough to discipline children and I completely understand that.

Speaker 2:

However, I think we all know when something is wrong, you know, and if you get that feeling that something is wrong to a child, especially physical, you know, and people have their opinions on spanking, but like hitting with you know, a closed fist especially unacceptable, hitting people in the face, unacceptable, like you know what I mean. Like, just trust your gut on these things and you know I think it's really tough to be a parent call if you, you know, need the people there can also help you. I don't know about the police, I think maybe it depends on who picks up, but, like CPS definitely is a good call to make. Um, if you suspect something like someone is being abused, a child especially, or even a senior citizen, because that happens as well that senior citizen abuse is you know is a big issue as well.

Speaker 2:

Um, and that's adult protective services, so that's a different number. But, um, yeah, a person's life can be on the line. So you know, if you have a feeling, it's definitely a good choice to make.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, for sure. And then obviously, the local police. Um, there's also the national center for missing and abused children, very true? Um, so there, there are a lot of agencies out there. It's just sometimes having the courage to pull the trigger on them. Listen, I would much rather think something is wrong and then be proved incorrect, and even if to the point it made someone angry, um, rather than let something fall through the cracks and not doing something because I didn't want to get involved and or I didn't want to be. You know, I didn't want to be wrong.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, and I think that recently people have been calling to report people like as like revenge as well, and that's completely Counting productive, it's totally. I mean, it's just, it's a waste of resources, sure, and it it forces people to slip through the cracks Right. Follow the show on whatever streaming site you're listening on.

Speaker 1:

And remember. All of the source material will be available in the show notes.

Speaker 2:

And follow us on Instagram at what we lose in the shadows and let us know if you want to hear a specific case or if you just want to give us some feedback. Okay, join us in the shadows next Tuesday. Bye.

Child Abuse and Torture
Child Abuse and Scapegoating Discussion