Police visited Ruby Franke's home twice in the year before her arrest to check on the kids, per police docs.
Neighbors told police they were concerned Franke would leave her young kids alone for a long time.
Franke's eldest daughter requested police do a welfare check on the kids last September.
Police conducted two welfare checks at Ruby Franke's home in the year leading up to the family YouTuber's arrest in August, including one visit that Franke's eldest daughter requested on behalf of her younger siblings last year.
During a September 2022 welfare check, multiple neighbors told police that Franke often left her young children home alone for several days at a time to go visit her friend and business partner Jodi Hildebrandt in a town about three hours away, leaving the children with "strict rules to not go anywhere or do anything," according to Springville Police Department documents obtained by Insider.
Franke, the Utah mother of six who rose to fame for her controversial parenting vlogs, was charged with six felony counts of child abuse earlier this month after her 12-year-old son climbed out a window of Hildebrandt's Ivins, Utah, home and ran to a neighbor's house asking for food and water. The neighbor noticed the boy had duct tape on his ankles.
Police later discovered Franke's 10-year-old daughter also in Hildebrandt's home; authorities said both children were malnourished and injured.
Hildebrandt, who ran the recently-removed parenting YouTube channel ConneXions with Franke, was also charged with six felony child abuse counts this month.
Ruby Franke's eldest daughter, Shari Franke, asked police to visit her mother's home on September 18, 2022, saying neighbors had informed her that her younger siblings were home alone, according to a Springville Police Department incident report obtained by Insider.
Shari Franke told police her sisters and brother had been alone in the house for about five days while their mom was in St. George, Utah, with a friend. Shari Franke asked authorities to check on the kids and make sure they had food and were safe.
Shari Franke, who is in her junior year at Brigham Young University, publicly applauded her mother's arrest earlier this month. She spoke about her estrangement from her mother in an April 2023 podcast appearance, saying she had broken away from her family soon after her parents became involved with ConneXions around the summer of 2022.
According to the police report, multiple officers went to the Franke house in September 2022 and were able to see the kids through the windows but were unable to make contact because the children wouldn't answer the door.
The reporting officers said they could see the children on the phone and they eventually went upstairs and out of sight.
Officers noticed several neighbors standing around watching the welfare check who looked "very interested" in the police presence, according to the report. The neighbors quickly started telling police about how Ruby Franke would often leave her kids home alone for extended periods of time so she could go visit Hildebrandt in St. George, the report said.
One neighbor told authorities she had a camera at her residence that would confirm Ruby Franke's vehicle had been gone since September 14, 2022. The check was requested on September 18, 2022. Another neighbor claimed to have a source in St. George who saw Ruby Franke's vehicle parked outside Hildebrandt's residence that week, according to the incident report.
"Everyone who came to the scene was very concerned about the children and them being left at home alone," the reporting officer wrote. "They expressed great concern about the two youngest children being homeschooled while the two older ones go to public school."
It is not clear where Franke's eldest son Chad was at the time, though reports suggest he may also be estranged from his mother.
An attorney for Ruby Franke's husband, Kevin Franke, told media outlets this month that the couple has been separated "at Ruby's directive" for about 13 months.
Attorneys for Ruby Franke, Kevin Franke, and Hildebrandt did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Police were called back to Franke's home just weeks later
Authorities were back at the Franke home less than a month later when authorities received a Department of Child and Family Services report regarding possible child neglect.
The DCFS report also alleged Ruby Franke would leave her kids at home for multiple days with no means of transportation or contact while she visited Hildebrandt in St. George.
A caseworker said she had been to the Franke residence several times to try and make contact with the kids, but neither Ruby Franke, nor the children would answer the door or pick up the phone, an October 5, 2022 incident report said.
In a December update, police said a warrant for the caseworker to speak with the children was not approved.
Police were also called to Ruby Franke's neighborhood earlier that year when a DCFS worker reported two young kids running around in the road unsupervised in April 2022, according to police records obtained by Insider. An officer drove through the area but didn't see any kids still in the street.
Neighbors who lived by Ruby Franke, as well as people who lived near Hildebrandt have spoken out since the vlogger's arrest, saying they saw the kids pulling weeds in 100-degree heat. One neighbor told Rolling Stone they called police multiple times about the children.
"Everyone is just breathing a collective sigh of relief, because we thought they were going to come out of that house with body bags," one neighbor told NBC News.
Read the original article on Insider