An Arizona mother accused of abusing her children while she profited from their popular YouTube channel has died.
ABC 15 reports that Machelle Hobson, 48, has died in a Phoenix hospital as she was facing dozens of child abuse charges.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Hobson, the creator of the “Fantastic Adventures” YouTube channel, was arrested earlier this year on charges including false imprisonment and abuse. She was accused of starving her seven adopted children, locking them in closets, and spraying their genitals with pepper spray as she demanded they perform for the YouTube video channel, which had close to a million subscribers.
According to the ABC 15 report, Hobson, who had also been referred to as Michelle Hackney in earlier news reports, was facing 29 charges to the related abuse at the time of her reported death. The children reportedly told police that they had been kept out of school for years in order to focus on the YouTube channel. The children were placed back in the state’s custody following Hobson’s arrest, and are likely in new foster homes, the report notes.
Hobson was reportedly deemed unfit to stand trial in August. A police source told ABC 15 that Hobson had suffered a brain injury while in jail, before she was released with conditions in June, and an acquaintance reportedly said she had suffered a brain aneurysm. Scottsdale police told the news station that Hobson died of “health conditions.”
The Pinal County Attorney’s Office told ABC 15 that they would await a death certificate before dismissing charges, but would continue to pursue Hobson’s assets, which reportedly include $100,000 in cash, likely profits from the successful YouTube channel. The assets will be distributed among the alleged child victims.
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