The husband and wife behind the YouTube channel DaddyOFive have been charged with child neglect, after videos depicting the couple mistreating their children led to a police investigation.
Mike and Heather Martin have been charged with two counts of neglect of a minor, for the alleged mistreatment of Cody and Emma Martin between November 2016 and April 2017. The couple will face the charges in Frederick County Circuit Court, with their attorney Stephen Tully revealing that there had been a plea agreement, though no further details were given. The plea could change prior to the court date, with the couple set to have a plea hearing on September 11.
Mike and Heather uploaded more than 300 videos to the DaddyOFive channel across a number of years, though it wasn’t until early 2017 that the content of these videos was thrown into question. A video of the parents forcing son Cody to tears after falsely accusing him of spraying ink on their carpet was picked up by a number of prominent YouTubers, with child abuse allegations following shortly thereafter. They later went on to claim that the majority of their videos were faked, though skeptical viewers continued to fear for the safety of their children, with Cody and Emma eventually being placed in the custody of their biological mother.
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Despite the outrage surrounding their videos, Mike and Heather have continued to upload videos to YouTube. Using their secondary channel MommyOFive, the couple now film themselves pranking one another to an audience of over 100,000 subscribers, though their children are rarely featured in this new footage. YouTube continues to monetize these videos, allowing Mike and Heather to earn money from the channel via advertising revenue.
The couple attempted to excuse their behavior by claiming that the money they earned from the channel afforded them the ability to do fun activities with their children, such as take them to Disney World, and buy them expensive gifts such as gaming consoles. According to Mike and Heather, the incentive to increase their views in order to earn more money caused them to embark upon more elaborate “pranks,” with them later appearing on Good Morning America in order to address the controversy. The DaddyOFive channel is still online, though not currently active, with an update video posted last month ensuring subscribers that they will return to making videos for the channel in the near future.