Machelle Hobson, a Maricopa resident being prosecuted for child abuse, has died at the age of 49.
Maricopa Police Department confirmed the death of the woman who had become known as the “YouTube Mom.” She was indicted on several charges this year after her adopted children accused her of abusing and maltreating them to force them to appear in a series for her YouTube channel.
However, Hobson, also known as Hackney, had medical issues that prevented her appearance in any court proceedings. Prosecutors had expressed doubt early on that she would ever be able to be tried on the charges because of her physical and psychological condition.
She was at a Scottsdale hospital at the time of her death. A specific cause of death has not been released.
When Hobson was arrested in March, her two oldest sons, who are her biological children and are in their 20s, were also arraigned. Pinal County Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against the men, but MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said other charges may be pending.
The successful YouTube channel “Fantastic Adventures,” which had more than 250 million views, was suspended after the arrests.
Hobson’s daughter, who was not living at the house in The Villages, told police March 13 she learned of the alleged abuse from her adopted sister. Hobson was initially charged with 30 counts of abuse and kidnapping. Ultimately, the state was prosecuting her for 22 of those charges.
Alvarado said a county detective informed MPD of Hobson’s death.