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YouTube mom accused of child abuse dies in Scottsdale

Machelle Hobson (Pinal County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX —  An Arizona woman who was charged with 30 counts of alleged abuse against five adopted children who performed in a popular YouTube series has died, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

Machelle Hobson, 48, passed away at approximately 10 a.m. in Scottsdale, Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said in an email.

Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer said Wednesday that Hobson was released from custody and taken to an acute care facility after suffering a brain injury in May.

Volkmer said he couldn’t provide details about the cause of the injury, but said that it wasn’t an assault.

Volkmer added that Hobson stopped eating and taking her medication on Nov. 4.

Earlier this year, two state physicians ruled Hobson mentally incompetent to stand trial in Pinal County Superior Court.

Hobson was arrested in March after one of her adult children reported to police one of the seven adopted youngsters told her that their mother was abusing them.

Five of the minor children appeared in a popular YouTube series and according to police records, they were severely punished if Hobson was displeased with their performances.

Police said they were told the younger children were locked in a closet for days at a time with no food, water or bathroom access.

The children, who were malnourished, were taken out of school so they could keep filming videos and hadn’t been back to class for years, according to court records.

The children remain in state custody, according to Volkmer.

KTAR News 92.3 FM legal expert Monica Lindstrom said in March that Hobson could have spent the rest of her life behind bars.

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