Machelle Hobson was officially charged by a Pinal County Grand Jury with 30 counts on Monday.
Hobson (previously going by the last name of Hackney) remains in the Pinal County Jail pending the posting of a $200,000 bond. At an arraignment hearing Friday, she is scheduled to enter a plea to the grand jury indictments of 24 counts of child abuse, five counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault.
“After a full and fair evaluation of all known facts and all known evidence, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office is confident these charges reflect the criminal actions perpetrated by Ms. Hobson. This office is committed to fairly and impartially administering justice for all those involved,” Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer said Tuesday in a press release.
Hobson, 48, of Maricopa was first arraigned in Pinal County Superior Court March 19 along with two of her sons in a case of alleged child abuse that involved a popular YouTube channel “Fantastic Adventures.” Most of the wholesome and family-friendly YouTube videos show the children going through superhero training or visiting fantasy lands.
Hobson was arrested March 15 with her biological adult sons Logan Hackney, 26, and Ryan Hackney, 28. Originally her charges included seven counts of child abuse, five counts of unlawful imprisonment, five counts of child neglect and two counts of molestation of a child. The sons were each charged with seven counts of failing to report abuse of a minor.
After the case was widely publicized last week, the YouTube series grew to more than 800,000 subscribers and over 250 million views as of March 20. Since charges were filed against Hobson, YouTube has taken down the channel.
Some estimates are that Hackney could have made as much as $2.5 million in advertising income airing the series on YouTube, based on industry standards for the number of views reported.
The allegations against Hackney begin on March 13 when officers responded to a child abuse investigation made by her biological daughter.
The daughter allegedly told police that her adoptive sister disclosed to her that she was being abused at the family’s home on North Donithan Way in the Villages by the mother.
Machelle Hackney is scheduled to appear in Pinal County Superior Court on Friday, and Logan and Ryan Hackney are scheduled to appear April 8. The two sons remain free on their own recognizance without bond.