YouTube stars lose custody of 2 children after prank videos

The videos on the DaddyOFive YouTube channel garnered widespread backlash.

ByABC News
May 3, 2017, 8:15 AM

— -- The parents who rose to YouTube stardom by posting videos of themselves playing pranks on their children — which garnered widespread backlash and allegations of child abuse — have temporarily lost custody of two of their children, the Frederick County Maryland Sheriff's Office confirmed for ABC News.

Michael and Heather Martin's videos, posted on their YouTube channels DaddyOFive and MommyOFive, caused a firestorm after some critics said the pranks they pulled on their young children in order to get views went too far.

Two of the children are Heather Martin's stepchildren, and today Rose Hall, their biological mother, posted a video on YouTube saying that she had "emergency custody" of Emma, 11, and Cody, 9.

"Emma and Cody are with me," Hall said in a video with her lawyer. "They're doing good. They're getting back to their playful selves."

Maj. Tim Clarke of the Frederick County Sheriff's Department told ABC News that his department helped carry out an emergency custody order from the Frederick County Circuit Court for Hall on Friday.

"The investigation on our end is ongoing with respect to everyone who was in that household and those videos until we make a determination about anything criminal occurring," he added. "CPS [Child Protective Services] has their own separate investigation that I can't comment on. We did serve the circuit court with a protective order last Friday giving custody of the two children to Rose Hall, their biological mother."

One DaddyOFive video that especially sparked controversy depicts the parents spattering the floor of one child's room with disappearing ink and then angrily blaming him for ruining the carpet.

As two of their children begin crying and screaming over the false accusation, the Martins continue cursing and yelling at them. Finally, Heather Martin breaks into laughter, and Mike Martin says, "You just got owned," but the children don't reciprocate their parents' smiles.

Mike and Heather Martin spoke with "Good Morning America" last week, saying their pranks were staged and the children were acting.

"We were going for shock value," Heather Martin said. The Martins have deleted the videos on their DaddyOFive channel and issued a public apology.

The Martins' lawyer, Laurie Wasserman, declined to offer further details on the case to ABC News, saying in a statement, "All information will be presented to the court at the appropriate time."