- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The YouTube parents who sparked widespread backlash for viral videos of “pranks” played on their children have lost custody of two who have been returned to their biological mother.

Rose Hall was granted temporary custody of her two children, 9-year-old Cody and 12-year-old Emma, who appeared in the controversial “DaddyOFive” YouTube videos posted by Michael and Heather Martin, of Frederick County, Maryland, The Baltimore Sun reported.

A video posted on YouTube Monday by Ms. Hall and her lawyer, Tim Conlon of The Custody Place, thanked YouTubers for bringing attention to the “DaddyOFive” account, which included nearly 300 videos of Mr. and Mrs. Martin pulling cruel pranks on their children.

“They’re doing good,” Ms. Hall said of Cody and Emma. “They’re getting back to their playful selves.”

The last “DaddyOFive” video to spark outrage, titled “INVISIBLE INK PRANK,” showed the parents, who had squirted invisible ink all over the carpet, blaming Cody in an expletive-filled tirade that left him in tears. Many viewers accused the couple of child abuse and called for an investigation.

All of the videos have since been deleted from the account — which has amassed more than 763,000 subscribers — except for a tearful apology video by the couple saying they made some “terrible parenting decisions.”

“We’re the parents and we should have made better decisions,” Mrs. Martin said. “We are now in family counseling because we need it. … We realize now what kind of a situation we put them in, and we’re just really sorry to them.”

“I respect how everyone feels about this,” Mr. Martin added, “and I do agree that we put things on the internet that should not be there and did things that we should not do.”

Ms. Hall, a resident of North Carolina, told The Baltimore Sun Monday that she first reported the videos to law enforcement in North Carolina in October, but it was out of their jurisdiction, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.

She reunited with her children in Maryland on Friday, The Baltimore Sun reported.

“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 I threw him away like he was garbage, and I didn’t love him no more,” Ms. Hall said in her video. “That’s not true at all.”

The other three children in the “DaddyOFive” family, which are Mrs. Martin’s children from a previous relationship, are still in the family’s custody.

Mr. Conlon told the Baltimore Sun Tuesday that a hearing will be held Friday.

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