The Arizona mother accused of torturing her seven adopted children who starred in her popular YouTube series “Fantastic Adventures” died at a Scottsdale hospital.
Machelle Hobson was arrested in March after her adult biological daughter reported her actions to the Maricopa Police Department. Investigators say the 48-year-old woman had been orchestrating a creative, moneymaking YouTube enterprise in public while privately abusing the adopted children, who ranged in age from about 6 to 15, by starving and shutting them in a tiled closet for days at a time.
To punish what Hobson perceived as subpar performance on the YouTube show the woman would allegedly beat the children with belts and hangers, assault them with pepper spray and force them to take ice baths.
Hobson pleaded not guilty to dozens of felony counts, including child abuse and kidnapping. She remained in police custody for several months.
In June, she was released from jail without bond because of health complications. In August, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Delia Neal declared Hobson incompetent to stand trial. She had been hospitalized, after she sustained a brain injury sustained while in county jail.
A week ago Hobson stopped eating and taking medications. Her health worsened over the weekend, and law enforcement agencies were notified Tuesday that she had died at 10 a.m. at HonorHealth Shea Medical Center in Scottsdale.
The seven adopted children, many of whom had been fostered before their adoption, were released back to state custody after Hobson’s arrest. They have been assigned caseworkers and legal advocates, who are trying to find the children new permanent homes – and keep them all together.
Still in question are Hobson’s assets and the money she made from the YouTube channel. She had nearly 800,000 subscribers and hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. The attorney now hopes to locate her assets and seizing them, since the profits were directly related to the alleged abuse.