FREDERICK, Md. — The Maryland couple who went viral after posting controversial videos of them playing “pranks” on their kids have lost custody of the two youngest children, at least temporarily, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Michael and Heather Martin recently posted a public apology on the YouTube account called DaddyOFive.
“This has been the absolute worst week of our lives and we realize that we have made some terrible parenting decisions,” Heather Martin says in the video. “We just want to make things right.”
Heather Martin said they got caught up in trying to post shocking material to “see what could get more views.”
All other videos have been deleted from the account, but clips from the videos have been reposted by other users who felt the “pranks” were abusive.
The videos show the Martins yelling and cursing at their kids, accusing them of things they know the kids didn’t do — including squirting ink all over the carpet.
One video shows Michael Martin repeatedly pushing his son Cody, who ends up crying in an empty bathtub.
“You guys don’t care about me, that’s the problem!” Cody yells. “Get out of my life, dad. You don’t like me. Get out!”
“I like you,” Michael Martin laughs.
“I don’t like you because you’re bad,” Heather Martin can be heard saying.
The biological mother of the two youngest children, Rose Hall, appeared in her own YouTube Video on Monday.
In the video, Hall’s attorney, Tim Conlon of The Custody Place says Frederick County Circuit Court granted Hall emergency custody of Cody and Emma.
Conlon said the children were currently in a “deprogramming mode.”
Conlon and Hall thanked members of the YouTube community who called attention to the videos.
Hall described what it was like to watch the videos.
“Heartbreaking and disturbing, seeing my kids being abused,” Hall said.
Conlon said Hall went with law enforcement officers to “rescue the children.”
“Cody had a difficult time when the officer brought him out to the car. He said some things that were disturbing, that he hated me and that Mike and Heather told him that I threw him away like he was garbage and I didn’t love him no more,” she said in the video.
She said the children have been reunited with their extended family in North Carolina and are “happy to be home” but have a “long road to recovery.”
Hall said they will be going to family counseling.