Mom who won temporary custody of her 2 kids after YouTube stars’ 'prank' videos says they were abused

Maryland police are investigating Mike and Heather Martin.

ByABC News
May 4, 2017, 10:32 PM

— -- The biological mother of two children featured in "prank" videos their father and stepmother posted on YouTube, which garnered widespread backlash and allegations of child abuse, says she was horrified when she saw how her children were treated.

"It was very painful. I cried. I had an anxiety attack," Rose Hall told ABC News’ “Nightline.”

Hall won temporary “emergency custody” of the two children, Emma, 11, and Cody, 9, after Maryland police launched an investigation last week into videos posted by their father, Mike Martin, and their stepmother, Heather Martin.

"He [Mike] is abusing my kids, hurting my kids and making them feel bad about themselves," Hall said, referring to the YouTube videos. "He’s bullying the other kids to hurt my two kids.

"I’m glad I wasn’t in the same room as Mike and Heather at the time they did that to my children," she added.

Watch the full story on "Nightline" tonight at 12:35 a.m. ET

The Martins rose to YouTube stardom by posting videos of their family on their YouTube channels, "DaddyOFive" and "MommyOFive."

The "DaddyOFive" channel, which features the antics of the parents and their five children -- Jake, 14, Ryan, 12, Emma, and Cody and Alex, both 9, -- currently has more than 760,000 subscribers on YouTube and have received millions of views. The Martins said they were making money off the videos but declined to say how much.

Their videos caused a firestorm after some critics said the pranks they pulled on their young children went too far.

One video in particular that received intense backlash on social media depicts the parents dousing the floor of one child's room with invisible ink and then angrily blaming the child for ruining the carpet.

As two of the 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.

Another video appears to show Mike drawing a gun after an apparent joke gone wrong.

Child Protective Services and the Frederick County Sheriff's Office are investigating the Martins, but declined to comment to ABC News. To date, no charges have been filed.

"A lot of times with this sort of abuse takes place behind closed doors," said Hall's attorney, Tim Conlon. "It's the uber documentation and videoing of what's been going on that's so different."

Mike and Heather Martin told ABC News last week that their pranks were staged and the children were acting.

"I am ashamed," Mike Martin added. "It started out as family fun. It started with me and my kids, but then it was just about making a video."

"It was more for shock value. The characters that you see on our YouTube channel is not a reflection of who we are," Heather Martin said. “It was a show. A bad show. But it was a show.... We made poor parenting choices by portraying ourselves this way but we are not bad people.”

The Martins deleted the videos and issued a public apology after the backlash.

If and when the Martins will get custody of Emma and Cody again remains uncertain. Hall and the Martins are due in court on Friday.

"I hope a judge will see what so many millions of people I think have seen which is mental abuse," said Conlon.

A spokesperson for the Martins told ABC News in a statement that "The Martins accept full responsibility for their parenting decisions and remain transparent and cooperative with oversight agencies. Their primary focus continues to be their family during this extraordinarily difficult time."

Hall said her two children are doing better now and members of the YouTube community are helping her with legal fees.

"It's going to take a long time to get them back on track and to being better again their silly, goofy selves," she said. "I want them to be happy. I want them to feel safe. I don't want them to go back and be abused again."