Machelle Hobson’s sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney, have been arrested on suspicion of failing to report abuse of a minor, according to NBC News. Their mother has been arrested on suspicion of a number of crimes, including molestation of a child, child abuse, child neglect, and unlawful imprisonment.
Machelle Hobson, who uses her maiden name for her career but is also known by her marital name Machelle Hackney, runs a successful YouTube channel called “Fantastic Adventures,” which depicts her children on various “adventures.” Amid reports that Hobson has been starving, abusing, beating, and neglecting those children while the cameras are off, Hobson has maintained that she did no such thing. Via The Washington Post, authorities in Arizona said Hobson’s alleged punishment was in direct relation to her YouTube channel, and would take place when her children did not perform as expected. The publication reports that Hobson has denied using tactics like pepper spray and ice baths as forms of abuse, and has maintained that she has spanked and grounded them in the past, as well as forced them to stand in a corner.
Logan and Ryan Hackney face charges related to not reporting the abuse. Their sister, Hobson’s biological daughter, is the one who reported the alleged abuse to authorities, per the Post.
Machelle Hobson has been charged with two counts of molestation of a child, seven counts of child abuse, five counts of unlawful imprisonment, and five counts of child neglect, per AZ Family.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Logan & Ryan Hackney Are Machelle Hobson’s Biological Children; She Also Has a Biological Daughter, and Seven Adopted Children
Logan and Ryan Hackney appear in the video above. However, they don’t appear in many videos, as the majority of the “Fantastic Adventures” YouTube channel centers around Hobson’s adopted, younger children.
Via CBS News, authorities said that when they came to Hobson’s house, they found a child in an unlocked closet wearing nothing but a diaper, as well as six other young children who they believed to be malnourished.
According to AZ Family, Logan and Ryan were arrested alongside their mother on Friday afternoon, and have been charged on seven counts of failing to report abuse of a minor. They, along with their mother, are being held at Pinal County Jail in Florence, Arizona.
2. Logan Hackney Admitted Knowledge of the Abuse to Authorities; Ryan Hackney Invoked His Miranda Rights, per The Washington Post
Upon their arrest on Friday afternoon, Logan Hackney admitted to having knowledge of the alleged abuse, and told authorities that he and his brother Ryan had considered reporting their mother in the past, per The Washington Post. CBS News further reports that Logan also admitted to seeing injuries on the children’s bodies. However, Ryan Hackney invoked his Miranda rights after his arrest, the publication reports, and declined to speak with police.
To AZ Family, one of the Hobsons’ neighbors, Bruno Schlueter, mentioned that the children were never allowed to play with others. He said, “We’ve met them. I took my children down there to introduce them to their children. My children wanted to play with them but whenever my children wanted to play down there, they never got to play.”
He added, “I never really understood why they couldn’t play. I just assumed they didn’t have any interest playing with my kids.”
3. Machelle Hackney’s Daughter Is the One Who First Reported Her to Authorities
Per The Washington Post, Logan and Ryan Hackney’s 19-year-old sister is the one who first reported details of the alleged abuse to authorities, and triggered the welfare check that led to the removal of all seven adopted children from Hobson’s home.
As CBS News notes, the “Fantastic Adventures” YouTube channel has received over 250 million views since it began in 2012. There are over three dozen videos on the account, many of which feature Logan and Ryan, though Hobson’s daughter only seems to appear in one or two.
4. A Child Told Authorities That Ryan Hackney Occasionally “Snuck” Food to Them
Authorities say one of Hobson’s seven adopted children said that Ryan Hackney would occasionally sneak food to them when they were being held in a closet, per AZFamily.
According to The Washington Post, Hobson’s YouTube channel views mean that she could have earned somewhere around $2.5 million over the last few years. She’s no longer earning any ad revenue in the wake of this recent arrest, a YouTube rep confirmed to the publication.
In response to the reports of alleged abuse, a YouTube spokesperson gave the following statement to The Post: “We take safety on YouTube very seriously. We work closely with leading child safety organizations and others in our industry to protect young people. When we’re made aware of serious allegations of this nature we take action, which may include suspending monetization, or, upon conclusion of an investigation, terminating channels.”
5. Hobson’s Younger Children Were Taken Out of School to Film Their YouTube Series
Accordig to News4Tucson, Hobson’s children were taken out of school in order to film their YouTube series full-time, and said they haven’t been in school for years.
Neighbor Schlueter said he was aware of the YouTube channel because his children watched the videos. To AZ Family, he said, “We learned they did YouTube videos, which was pretty exciting…My children thought that was pretty exciting; they started watching the videos. I’m blown away that was going on down there. I have six kids myself and I can’t even imagine doing something like that happening to these poor kids. I just wish I would’ve been able to pick up on that.”