Hobson in Court

Machelle Hobson appears in a wheelchair in Pinal County Superior Court on March 29 in Florence.

FLORENCE — The 47-year-old Maricopa woman accused of abusing some of her children, who starred on the YouTube video series Fantastic Adventures, failed to appear May 29 for a scheduled pretrial conference in Pinal County Superior Court.

Machelle Hobson’s defense attorney, Joshua Wallace, informed the court that the “jail staff has indicated that the defendant is in the hospital,” a minute entry action from a May 29 hearing states. The minute entry document is part of Hobson’s court file.

“Counsel updated the court regarding the status of the case, regarding defendant retaining two Knapp attorneys and regarding medical records being disclosed,” the entry states.

Judge Delia Neal ordered Pinal County jail staff to provide defense attorneys with Hobson’s medical records upon her signing a proper HIPPA waiver to release the information.

A few days later, on June 12, Hobson was released from pretrial incarceration without any bond, apparently due to her medical condition. She was previously held on $200,000 bond since being arrested in March.

The first time Hobson didn’t appear in court for a scheduled hearing was on May 3, when the jail staff advised her defense attorneys that she was ill and unable to appear.

After her $250,000 bond was dropped to a personal recognizance bond, Hobson was released Wednesday morning.

Pinal County prosecutors did not object to the motion for allowing her to be released without a secured bond.

Hobson is charged with 30 felony counts due to an indictment by a Pinal County grand jury after her adopted children reported being severely disciplined for not performing well in YouTube videos produced out of the family’s home.

Hobson’s arrest made national news and resulted in YouTube deactivating her popular channel of adventure videos.

One of the conditions of her release was not to have contact with any of her natural or adopted children related to the case. The children alleged to have been abused are not living in her home now.

Hobson is scheduled to appear back in Superior Court on July 24 for a Rule 11 hearing to determine if she is competent to stand trial.

On March 25, the grand jury indicted Hobson on several counts of child abuse, kidnapping and aggravated assault. The offenses range between Class 2 and Class 6 felonies. Some of the crimes have been categorized as “dangerous crimes against children,” a distinction that carries tougher penalties under Arizona law.

Hobson’s indictment lists specific allegations of abuse. They include hitting a child with a clothes hanger, hitting and spitting at them in the face, and causing their teeth to decay.

In fact, one of the reasons police discovered the children were being abused was due to a dentist appointment.

One of the documents in the court file showed the defendant’s older biological daughter took one of the children to a dentist.

“While at the dentist, the child told (the older daughter) she was being physically abused and neglected by her mother,” court documents state.

The child was 13 years old.

One of the counts against her accuses Hobson of pinching one of the children’s genitals for a prolonged period, causing them to bleed.

One count of child abuse with the “dangerous” distinction has a maximum prison sentence of 24 years.

The five juvenile victims alleged they would be kept in a closet for long periods of time without access to food or a bathroom.

They further accused Hobson of dousing them with pepper spray and dunking their heads under water.


Jim Headley is a reporter covering breaking news, crime and justice around Pinal County. He can be reached at jheadley@pinalcentral.com.