Official: 'YouTube mom' Machelle Hobson dies at hospital in Arizona

Posted at 7:32 PM, Nov 12, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Machelle Hobson, an Arizona mother who ran a popular YouTube channel known as "Fantastic Adventures" and was facing dozens of child abuse charges, has died at a hospital in Scottsdale, according to Ricardo Alvarado, public information officer for the Maricopa Police Department.

The Pinal County Attorney's Office said on Tuesday evening that they will wait for an official death certificate before dismissing charges, but will continue to pursue Hobson's assets, which includes more than $100,000 in cash. All of the seized money will go to the seven children, who are back in the state's custody and likely in a new foster home.

Scottsdale police said Hobson died of "health conditions," and they don't anticipate an ongoing death investigation.

Hobson, 48, was arrested in March at her home in Maricopa, Arizona, a community about 30 minutes south of Phoenix.

While her family was racking up millions of views on YouTube with scripted skits, detectives alleged her foster children were living in a house of horrors.

According to court documents, and reports, the children told investigators that they were starved for days, locked in closets for days, forced to sleep on the floor, and physically beaten for failing to remember their lines. Detectives found bottles of pepper spray at the home, which was sometimes used on children's genitals, according to court documents.

Hobson was facing 29 charges, including multiple counts of child abuse, kidnapping, and unlawful imprisonment.

A police source said previously that Hobson was hospitalized with a brain injury while in jail. A family acquaintance said Hobson had a brain aneurysm and had been placed in a care facility, after being released from jail with conditions in early June

In August, Hobson, who made national headlines as the "YouTube mom," was declared incompetent to stand trial by both state and defense doctors.

At the time of her arrest, police said Hobson had over 700,000 YouTube followers, 242 million views on the page’s videos, and was making hundreds of thousands of dollars off the content.

The kids, many of whom were fostered before being adopted by Hobson, told investigators “they have not been in school for years” in order to “keep filming their [Youtube] series.”

Weeks after her arrest, Hobson was indicted on 30 counts of child abuse. In their report, detectives said Hobson denied the abuse allegations and was clearly competent on March 13, 2019. Five months later, she has been ruled not fit to stand trial.

This article was written by KNXV staff.