Children of mom behind YouTube channel removed by DCS in alleged child abuse case

MARICOPA, Ariz. (AP/FOX 10) -- Officials with the Arizona Department of Child Safety say the department has removed the children from the home of a woman with a popular YouTube channel who was arrested on suspicion of abusing her seven adopted kids.

The state agency said it took the children from 48-year-old's home, one day before her arrest. Media statements have differed in their reporting of the woman's name, with DCS identifying the woman as Machelle Hackney, and Pinal County Attorney's Office identifying the woman as Machelle Hobson.

DCS cited confidentiality laws in declining to answer questions about Hobson, including whether it had prior contacts with her or prior complaints.

Hobson's channel, which shows her seven adopted children in simple skits about a kid stealing cookies or a little boy with superpowers, has millions of views. She also has related Instagram and Facebook accounts. The channel was taken down by mid-afternoon Wednesday leaving a message that said it had violated YouTube's community guidelines. YouTube said earlier in the day it had suspended the channel's money-making ability upon learning about the arrest and additional action was possible including termination.

A police report released Wednesday says the children say they were disciplined with pepper spray or locked in a closet without food or water if they did not perform in the videos as directed. Court documents provided by authorities in Pinal County have provided graphic details of the alleged crimes, including allegations of Hobson pinching a boy's private parts with her fingernails to the point of bleeding, in addition to allegations that Hobson pepper-sprayed the private parts of a girl.

It's not known if Hobson has an attorney.

Meanwhile, more people living near Hobson's home are speaking out about the incident.

Sarisa Fragua, who lives two doors down from Hobson, said Wednesday that she rarely saw the woman or the children, but last summer, she says one of the woman's adult sons was filming a video with the children on a pathway behind her backyard.

According to Fragua, the children seemed withdrawn anytime they weren't being filmed. She thought it was odd but never saw anything that seemed abusive.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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