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Son of Ruby Franke, YouTube mom charged with child abuse, says therapist tied him up, used cayenne pepper to dress wounds

The 12-year-old son of a Utah woman who once gave online parenting advice via a popular YouTube channel said his mom’s business partner, who is a licensed mental health counselor, used ropes to tie him up, according to search warrants in the child abuse case made public this week.

The emaciated boy, who escaped from Jodi Hildebrandt’s house on Aug. 30 and asked neighbors for help, told officers that “Jodi” put the ropes on his ankles and wrists and that they used cayenne pepper and honey to dress the wounds caused by the ropes, according to a search warrant filed that day.

Hildebrandt and the boy’s mother — Ruby Franke, who gave parenting advice via a YouTube channel “8 Passengers” — each facesix felony counts of aggravated child abusefor injuries suffered by the boy and Franke’s 10-year-old daughter. They have not entered pleas and remain jailed without bond.

The presence of a remedy for the children’s wounds proved Hildebrandt was aware the abuse was happening, authorities stated in the documents, CBS affiliate KUTV reported.

Hildebrandt’s attorney, Douglas Terry, was out of the office Wednesday and not available to comment on the allegations contained in the search warrant. Franke’s attorney, LaMar Winward, is out of the country, his office said.

The boy, who showed up at a neighbor’s house in the southwestern Utah community of Ivins with duct tape on his ankles and wrists and asking for food and water, told an officer that two other siblings were at Hildebrandt’s house, according to requests for search warrants. Officers learned that Franke had left the three children in Hildebrandt’s care, a warrant request states.

Responding officers located a 10-year-old girl at Hildebrandt’s house, but did not find the 14-year-old, according to the application for a warrant. The two youngest children were taken to the hospital. The four youngest of Franke’s six children were eventually placed in the custody of child protective services, court records said.

In their initial sweep of Hildebrandt’s house looking for the boy’s siblings to see if they needed medical care, officers also found a locked potential safe room in the basement. A warrant was requested to search the house for any items, including rope and duct tape, that might be used to abuse a child. It also asked to search the locked room, but the returned warrant does not say what, if anything, might have been located in the room, or if it was opened.

In the search, officers found three ropes, two handcuffs, two bowls containing a paste of cayenne pepper and honey, bandages, plastic wrap, a journal and some paperwork.

While cayenne pepper has long been an ingredient used for medicinal purposes, it should not be used on cracked skin or open wounds,according to Mount Sinai.

“DO NOT apply capsaicin cream to cracked skin or open wounds,” the medical center’s website states, twice. “… However, with caution, capsaicin ointment may be used on the skin for older children. DO NOT use topical cayenne ointments for more than 2 days in a row for a child.”

According to the search warrant, officers also seized “Scott’s Tape and Saran wrap” along with papers, notes, a journal, two bowls containing a red liquid with a metal spoon, two super absorbent dressings, two “Coban bandages” with four white ankle socks, three sets of “a brown and white rope,” two handcuffs and three carabiners, KUTV reported.

Two other warrants allowed officers to seize laptops, cellphones, any video or audio recordings that might show any child abuse and any communications between Hildebrandt and Franke.

After Hildebrandt’s arrest, she said the two youngest children “should never be allowed around any other kids,” an officer wrote in a search warrant.

Hildebrandt has agreed not to see patients until the allegations are addressed by state licensing officials, state licensing officials said on Tuesday.

Last week, Franke’s sisters released videos detailing her separation from their family and their efforts to connect with her children.Julie Griffiths DeruandBonnie Hoellein, said in videos uploaded to their own YouTube channels that they were not aware of their sister’s actions.

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