An Iowa mother of four has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a September incident in which she allegedly went on a planned 12-day European vacation and left her four young children — ages 6 to 12 — home alone, PEOPLE confirms.
Erin Lee Macke, 30, filed a written plea last week. She pleaded not guilty to four counts of child endangerment and one of transferring a firearm to a person under 21. (The latter charge was filed because she allegedly left a firearm in the home within the children’s reach.)
Police officers in Johnston, Iowa, were first called to Macke’s home on Sept. 21 after receiving a report from the father of two of her 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,” Johnston Police Department Lt. Lynn Aswegan told PEOPLE last month. “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.”
In a video of a subsequent court appearance from local TV station RTV6, Macke seemed to indicate that her aunt and uncle were watching the children on the last day that she was in the country.
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Macke was reportedly visiting a brother and a niece and “[by] all indications it was a social venture,” Aswegan said.
He said 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 said.
Macke is free on $9,000 bond, PEOPLE confirms.
Court records do not list an attorney who can comment on her behalf. She did not immediately return a call for comment.