Iowa Mom Arrested After Allegedly Leaving 4 Kids Home Alone to Go on a Planned 12-Day German Vacation
An Iowa woman was arrested Thursday after she went on a days-long vacation to Germany and allegedly left her four young children home alone
An Iowa woman was arrested Thursday after she went on a planned days-long vacation to Germany and allegedly left her four young children home alone, PEOPLE confirms.
Erin Lee Macke, 30, is charged with four counts of child endangerment, according to Johnston, Iowa, Police Department Lt. Lynn Aswegan.
Macke was released on bail on Friday. It is unclear if she has obtained an attorney or entered a plea. Her next court date is scheduled for Oct. 9.
A message left for her was not immediately returned on Friday. She has reportedly said the allegations against her are untrue and that she did not leave her kids alone.
Aswegan tells PEOPLE that officers were first called to Macke’s home on Sept. 21 after receiving a report from the father of two of Macke’s children that she had left the day before for a 12-day vacation in Germany.
“There was nobody lined up to be with the children,” Aswegan says. “Apparently she had talked to a couple of family members that earlier on had some conflicts watching the children during that time-frame, and she gave them the indication she had it taken care of.”
According to Aswegan, “She felt comfortable that the kids were responsible enough to take care of themselves during that duration.”
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Macke was reportedly in Germany visiting a brother and a niece and “[by] all indications it was a social venture,” Aswegan says.
He says that the children had been left alone for 24 hours before police went to Macke’s apartment after 7 p.m. on Sept. 21 and found her 12-year-old twins and two younger daughters, ages 6 and 7, home alone.
“When the officer arrived, the 12 year-old did have food on the table and was preparing to feed the younger two children,” Aswegan says.
Macke was also charged with one count of transferring a firearm to a person under 21 after officers found a gun and ammunition on Macke’s bedroom shelf.
“It was not properly secured,” Aswegan says. “One of the 12-year-olds showed us where the weapon was at.”
The Iowa Department of Human Services has taken custody of the kids, he says. They are staying with relatives, according to the Des Moines Register.
Officers spoke to Macke while she was in Germany and she didn’t “understand the concern,” Aswegan says. He says she had planned to stay in the country until Oct. 1.
“She didn’t understand or agree with the concern and didn’t recognize it was a potential issue and wasn’t alarmed by it,” he says. “She had the same demeanor upon her arrest.”
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Macke flew back to Iowa on Thursday and was arrested at her apartment.
The father of Macke’s two youngest children, Matthew Macke, spoke to Inside Edition on Friday, saying he believed what she did was “a clear, deliberate, intentional act.”
“I’m really angry,” he said. “But I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not.”
“I think most people are pretty surprised,” Aswegan says. “Everyone juggles with whether or not your kids are responsible enough and you take distance and duration in account. I think everyone would raise an eyebrow on the judgment used in this decision.”