MARICOPA, Ariz. – An Arizona mother behind a YouTube channel seen by millions is in jail on charges of abusing her seven adopted children.
Machelle Hackney of Maricopa, Arizona is accused of forcing her adopted children to participate in her YouTube channel and abusing them if they did not recall their lines or perform as directed.
On Wednesday, March 13, Hackney's biological daughter called police after one of her adopted sisters said their mother was abusing them, prompting a welfare check at the home.
The children told authorities they would be pepper sprayed, beaten, forced to take ice baths and locked in a closet without food, water or access to a restroom for days, according to court documents.
Police said during the welfare check, a child wearing only a pull-up was found in an unlocked closet, which has a locking mechanism.
Officers said they found six other children who appeared pale and underweight and had dark rings under their eyes. The children told police they were thirsty and hungry.