Police have charged an Iowa woman with leaving her four preteen children home alone for an expected two weeks while she vacationed in Germany.
The Johnston Police Department in Iowa says that Erin Lee Macke, 30, planned a European vacation without arranging for care for her four young children, WHO Channel 13 reported.
Police were called to the woman’s home on September 21 after neighbors felt something was wrong. Upon investigation, officials found four children, two 12-year-olds, a 7-year-old, and a 6-year-old, who had been left unsupervised.
Macke reportedly planned to be gone on her trip from September 20 to October 1. The woman had already left the country before police became involved.
Police were able to contact Macke in Germany and ordered her to return to the U.S., which she did on September 27. She was immediately taken into custody and charged with four counts of child endangerment and one count of making a firearm available to a person under 21 because a firearm was within reach of the children.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this before,” Lt. Tyler Tompkins told KCCI, adding:
We have situations where parents go next door or parents may go out for the night, and while that’s not advisable either depending on the age of the children, obviously leaving the country is a totally different situation. This, where a parent has left the country and left the kids home alone, I’ve never heard of it before.
Macke is being held in the Polk County Jail in lieu of a $9,000 bond and was also hit with a “no contact” order, which means she cannot see her children.
The children are now staying with extended family members.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.