Police say Iowa mom left 4 kids alone as she flew to Germany

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JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) -- A Johnston woman faces multiple charges after police said she left her four children home alone while taking a trip to Europe.

Erin Lee Macke, 30, is charged with four counts of child endangerment – substantial risk, and one count of transfer of pistol or revolver to a person under 21.

Johnston police Lt. Tyler Tompkins told KCCI that Macke left her children ages 12, 12, 7 and 6 alone at home Sept. 20 while she traveled to Germany.

Tompkins said the children were left alone for 24 hours before the police department and Iowa Department of Human Services received a tip and visited the children.

The children told police, “Mom left them and left the country,” police said.

Tompkins told KCCI that police contacted Macke Sept. 21 and that Macke told officers she planned to be in Germany until Oct. 1.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this before,” Tompkins said. “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.”

Authorities said they convinced Macke to return to the United States before Oct. 1. She arrived Wednesday evening and was arrested Thursday morning.

Police said the 12-year-old children are staying with family and the seven- and six-year-old children are with their father.

Macke is charged with one count of transfer of pistol or revolver to a person under 21 because there was a firearm within reach of the children in the home, according to police.

View the original story on KCCI's website.