Behind the scenes, however, the children told a different story. A welfare check revealed last week that it was an abuse center in which their mother was grabbing food and donating food. water for days, sprinkled them with pepper, forced them to take an ice bath and locked them in a sterile closet, according to a probable cause statement in Maricopa, Arizona.
"They said that they were disciplined in the manner described above if they did not remember their lines or did not participate (in the videos) as they were directed towards," says the statement of cause likely.
"They further stated that it was one of the reasons why their mother had removed them from school so that they could continue filming their series and they mentioned that" They had not been to school for years. "
Police on Friday arrested their mother, Machelle Hackney, 48, on two counts of child molestation, seven counts of maltreatment, five counts of negligence and five counts of illegal imprisonment.
His adult sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney, were also arrested on Friday. They face seven charges each. They are accused of not reporting the abuse of a minor.
All three are detained without bail. A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said that they had not yet a lawyer.
In the police report, Hackney said the closet in his room was never used to punish and denied the charges of pepper spray and ice baths. She said the only forms of punishment that she uses are to stand in a corner, spank and be punished, the statement said.
Ryan Hackney invoked his rights in Miranda, but Logan Hackney spoke to the police and said the children were locked in the closet, sprayed with pepper and forced to take an ice bath, the statement said.
What a social welfare check found
Hackney's YouTube channel posts a new video about once a week and has nearly 800,000 subscribers. With titles like "The Floor Floor Is Lava!" and "Escape The Babysitter!" each episode of 10 to 15 minutes features the family of cute kids who fight with lightsabers to turn into superheroes or try to steal cookies.
The statement of probable cause describes a visit by social assistance officers on March 13th to the house after receiving a tip from an adult girl who reportedly stated that one of the children had claimed to have been mistreated.
During the welfare check, a child was found in an unlocked wardrobe, with a locking mechanism and wearing only a protective layer, the statement said, adding that the other six children appeared to be malnourished. He said that they had pale complexion, dark circles under the eyes, underweight and that they were thirsty and hungry.
According to the statement of probable cause, one of the children drank three 16-ounce water bottles in less than 20 minutes and claimed to have been pepper spray pepper repeatedly as a punishment for her mother. Another child said that she was very hungry and that a bag of fries had been given her. However, she was afraid to eat the fries because she did not want her mother to smell them, the statement said.
The Child Safety Department then removed the seven children from their mother's custody.
A house search found two pepper spray bombs in her mother's bedroom and her bedroom closet had a deadbolt lock and bare tile floor, the statement said.
In follow-up interviews, a child recounted how he was locked in a closet for days without food, water or toilets. They were also sprayed with pepper all over their faces and bodies, were spanked, forced to take an ice bath and had to stand in a corner with their arms raised for several hours, the statement said.
"I'm beaten with a hanger or a belt" "or a brush," said a child, "a pepper spray from head to toe," the statement said.
The child also said that his mother would pinch the tip of his penis until he bleeds. Another child said that she had received a pepper spray on her vagina and recalled being hurt for four to five days, the statement said.
YouTube confirmed that the channel had been demonetized once the company had been informed of the arrest.