YouTube mom’s 2 adult sons will not be charged in Maricopa abuse case
PHOENIX — The two adult sons of a Maricopa woman who allegedly abused five of her seven adopted children and forced them to perform in YouTube videos will not be charged in the case, authorities said Monday.
Ryan and Logan Hackney, sons of Machelle Hobson, were arrested March 15 for failing to report her alleged abuse, which included pepper spraying the children’s genitals and locking them in closets when they did not remember their lines.
“At this time Pinal County Attorney’s Office has chosen not to file charges against Ryan or Logan Hackney, however, the investigation into Ryan and Logan Hackney’s role in the case, if any, is still ongoing,” Christy Wilcox, spokeswoman for the attorney’s office, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
The brothers were released on their own recognizance on March 19, and they were scheduled to appear in court Monday.
Hobson, 47, was charged with multiple felony counts involving each juvenile victim, including kidnapping and a variety of child abuse charges, for a total of 30 counts on March 26.
KTAR News 92.3 FM legal expert Monica Lindstrom said at the time that Hobson could spend the rest of her life behind bars.
“We could be looking at over 100 years,” Lindstrom told KTAR News’ Mac & Gaydos.
“If you take all of those counts and if they’re at separate times and with separate victims, which they are, then those can be stacked on top of each other.”
Police said the children, who were malnourished, were taken out of school so they could keep filming videos and hadn’t been back in school for years.
Hobson’s Fantastic Adventures YouTube channel drew more than 240 million views for 36 videos and more than 800,000 subscribers since debuting in 2012.
The channel was taken down hours after news of Hobson’s arrest spread.
On March 13, Police began investigating at Hobson’s home in Maricopa, about 40 miles south of Phoenix, after her adult daughter reported the alleged abuse.
They removed Hobson’s seven adopted children from the house the next day.
The Pinal County Attorney’s Office said only five children were included in the charges because investigators haven’t found direct evidence of abuse of two 3-year-olds.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.