An Iowa woman departed on a European vacation on Sept. 20 but allegedly left some rather important articles behind: her four kids. Erin Macke, 30, is accused of child endangerment after she allegedly left her kids home alone while she traveled to Germany. After receiving a call from the father of one of the kids, Johnston police say they visited Macke's home on Sept. 21 and found four children—ages 6, 7, 12, and 12—alone. According to police, the kids said their mom had "left the country" and wasn't to return until Oct. 1. Police called Macke, who explained "all of her sitter options fell through, and she left the kids in the care of the two 12-year-olds," officer Tyler Tompskins tells KCCI. She "did not see it being a problem."
Tompskins says he knows of cases where parents left their kids alone for a few hours, or even a night. But "this, where a parent has left the country and left the kids home alone, I've never heard of it before," he tells KCCI. Police told Macke to return early, and she made it back to the US on Wednesday. On Thursday, she was arrested and charged with four counts of child endangerment and one count of making a firearm available to a person under the age of 21, reports the Des Moines Register. (The latter is because police say a handgun was left within reach of the kids.) Macke is being held in Polk County Jail and is not allowed to see her children, who are staying with family members. She appeared in court Friday and will return for a date on Oct. 9.