A famous YouTube mom who allegedly abused her adopted children in the name of her popular videos has died in Arizona while awaiting trial.
Machelle Hobson, 48, was facing multiple charges, including those for abuse and neglect, to which she pleaded not guilty, according to CNN. On Tuesday, however, Hobson was pronounced dead at a hospital in Scottsdale. It’s not clear how she died.
Hobson was behind a YouTube channel Fantastic Adventures, which highlighted life with her seven kids and had more than 800,000 subscribers. Hobson was allegedly raking in $2 million a year from the channel.
However, authorities say there was a dark side to the fame. Police were tipped off by Hobson's 19-year-old daughter Megan that the children were allegedly being abused. The daughter, who did not live in the home, told authorities that the kids were locked inside closets, pepper-sprayed and denied food and water for days.
The abuse was meted out as punishment for failing to participate in the woman's YouTube show or for forgetting their lines, police said.
Officers who went to Hobson's home said they discovered a child in an unlocked closet wearing only a pull-up diaper, and they described other children in the house as looking pale and underweight with bags under their eyes, according to authorities.
One child described punishments from his mother, police said. "I either get beat with a hanger or belt, or a brush or get pepper-sprayed from head to toe," officers quoted him as saying.
After Hobson’s arrest, Megan told Inside Edition that she took custody of two of the adopted children and the rest were reportedly put in foster care.
Hobson’s adult sons, who did live in the home, were arrested and charged with seven counts of failing to report the abuse of a minor.
YouTube removed the channel after the allegations.