Jodi Hildebrandt’s sprawling Utah desert fortress goes on the market for $5M – including sick ‘panic room’ where Ruby Franke’s emaciated children were tortured: Curious viewers race to tour house of horrors

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Written By Maya Cantina
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  • Jodi Hildebrandt’s fortress has been reduced in value to just less than $5million
  • The sprawling mansion has 15ft ceilings, a pool, an outdoor spa and a panic room
  • Franke’s 12-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter were held captive inside it
  • Franke and Hildebrandt pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse in December

Jodi Hildebrandt’s Utah mansion has been put on the market for $5million – including the hidden panic room where Ruby Franke’s children were tortured.

The four-bedroom fortress, which covers almost 10,000 square feet, was originally listed for $5.3 million in January but has since been slashed by more than $300,000.

It was from this home that Franke’s emaciated 12-year-old son escaped last August, leading police to find his little sister slumped over in a closet.

Hildebrandt and Franke pleaded guilty in December 2023 to four second-degree felony counts of aggravated child abuse and face four one-to-15-year sentences. 

Prosecutors accused the former business partners of starving and abusing Franke’s own children while doling out brutal parenting advice on social media .

Jodi Hildebrandt’s Utah mansion has been listed for nearly $5 million. In this home, she and Ruby Franke held the mommy blogger’s young children captive while they starved and tortured them

Hildebrandt and Franke pleaded guilty to four second-degree felony counts of aggravated child abuse each in December 2023

Hildebrandt and Franke pleaded guilty to four second-degree felony counts of aggravated child abuse each in December 2023

The 10,000-square-foot home includes a 'panic room' in the basement, with a vault-like door that locks from the outside

The 10,000-square-foot home includes a ‘panic room’ in the basement, with a vault-like door that locks from the outside

Upon searching the property, police recovered a mixture of cayenne pepper and honey that was used to dress the children's wounds and several coils of rope

Upon searching the property, police recovered a mixture of cayenne pepper and honey that was used to dress the children’s wounds and several coils of rope

The property is located at 854 West Tawgoo Court in the sleepy community of Ivins and was listed for sale around a week after the pair entered their guilty pleas.

It features a mahogany front door, skylights, 15-foot ceilings and sprawling views of the desert landscape.

The kitchen boasts double ovens, top-of-the-line appliances and expansive counter space, plus a stainless steel sink and butler’s pantry with its own dishwasher, fridge and microwave. 

The primary bedroom sports a fireplace and walk-in closet with a washer and dryer. Inside the main bathroom are a soaking tub and a steam room.

The home’s lower level features another full-sized kitchen, home theater and family room. Other amenities include a pool, spa, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and five-car garage. 

Excluded from the listing is the so-called ‘panic room’ investigators discovered as they combed through the home in search of evidence.

Past the vault-like door that locked from the outside was a bed, toilet, microwave and empty fridge and freezer.

Police recovered a strand of knotted rope from a drawer in the cramped room. Metal chains connecting to a set of handcuffs were tied to one end.

The four-bedroom home features a kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances and extensive counter space

The four-bedroom home features a kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances and extensive counter space

The Ivins property boasts 15-foot ceilings and expansive views of the natural landscape

The Ivins property boasts 15-foot ceilings and expansive views of the natural landscape

Ruby Franke, 41

Jodi Hildebrandt, 54

Franke, 41 (left), and Hildebrandt, 54 (right), told nine-year-old Eve and 12-year-old Russell that they were possessed and ‘the punishments were necessary to repent’

The inhumane living conditions were exposed when Russell escaped the home in August 2023 and ran to neighbors for help

The inhumane living conditions were exposed when Russell escaped the home in August 2023 and ran to neighbors for help

Police found Eve, 9, cowering in a closet inside the grimy home and were able to coax her out after four agonizing hours

Police found Eve, 9, cowering in a closet inside the grimy home and were able to coax her out after four agonizing hours

The abysmal living conditions were exposed when Franke’s son, Russell, snuck through a window and flagged down neighbors with duct tape around his ankles.

One man, who later described the boy as ’emaciated,’ dialed 911 while his wife offered Russell water and some fruit.

The 12-year-old told police that he had attempted to escape a month earlier, prompting his own mother to bind his wrists and ankles with handcuffs.

Following the daring escape, police ventured back inside in search of the boy’s nine-year-old sister, Eve, who had not been seen for a month.

The malnourished little girl, whose head had been shaved, was found sitting cross-legged inside a closet. She was coaxed to safety after a four-hour effort that culminated in officers ordering her pizza.

Franke, a mother of six, later admitted to forcing the children to toil in oppressive heat for hours with little food and water.

Twelve-year-old Russell was badly sunburnt after he worked outdoors for several weeks without the proper protection.

While Franke and Hildebrandt regularly withheld food from the children, crime scene photos showed a pantry brimming with snacks and canned goods.

A neighbor who called 911 described the boy (seen here on Ring doorbell footage) as 'emaciated'

A neighbor who called 911 described the boy (seen here on Ring doorbell footage) as ’emaciated’

The home was originally listed for $5.3 million in January, but that price was abruptly slashed by $305,000

The home was originally listed for $5.3 million in January, but that price was abruptly slashed by $305,000

Russell was badly malnourished at the time of his escape

He told police that Hildebrandt bound his wrists and ankles with rope before she and his mother 'used cayenne pepper and honey to dress the wounds'

Russell was badly malnourished at the time of his escape. He told police that Hildebrandt bound his wrists and ankles with rope before she and his mother ‘used cayenne pepper and honey to dress the wounds’

The 12-year-old told police that he had attempted to escape a month earlier, but Franke bound his wrists and ankles with handcuffs

The 12-year-old told police that he had attempted to escape a month earlier, but Franke bound his wrists and ankles with handcuffs

While Russell and Eve were regularly denied food, crime scene photos show a fully stocked pantry

While Russell and Eve were regularly denied food, crime scene photos show a fully stocked pantry

Both Russell and Eve were told they were possessed and ‘the punishments were necessary to repent,’ according to court documents.

The women ‘regularly sought to indoctrinate’ Russell ‘and convince him that he was evil,’ deeming the abuse ‘acts of love’.

Russell told police that Hildebrandt bound his wrists and ankles with rope before she and his mother ‘used cayenne pepper and honey to dress the wounds,’ documents show.

Officers later recovered a container of the mixture with a spoon dipped inside and a coil of rope beside it.

Franke, 42, gained a following on social media as a mommy vlogger, showcasing the lives of her children through her YouTube channel, 8 Passengers.

Hildebrandt, 54, is divorced and estranged from her own children. She claimed to specialize in sex addiction, but was reprimanded by the state in 2012 for having an inappropriate relationship with a client.

In the weeks following the pair’s August 2023 arrest, videos circulated where Ruby gleefully discussed forcing her son to sleep on a beanbag as punishment and refusing to bring her daughter a school lunch after she forgot to pack it herself. 

Franke and her ex-husband, Kevin, employed Hildebrandt as their family therapist in 2021. But Hildebrandt ultimately convinced the couple to separate a year later.

Franke subsequently deleted her YouTube channel, which boasted over 5 million subscribers at the time, before assuming a role as a mental health coach with Hildebrandt’s company, ConneXions.

They launched a new YouTube channel under the same name and created a joint Instagram account called Moms of Truth to peddle their parenting classes.

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