Erin Lee Macke was arrested last week on child endangerment charges after leaving her four children home alone so she could go on an 11-day vacation in Germany. The Iowa mom was also charged with one count of making a firearm available to a person under the age of 21, after one of her oldest kids led police to her gun and ammunition left on her bedroom shelf.
Sure, many moms have dreamed of jet-setting to another country without their children for some much-needed vacation time, but not before ensuring their kids are left in capable hands. Macke, after learning her relatives couldn't watch the kids, still decided to leave her 12-year-old twins, and 6- and 7-year-old daughters at home to fend for themselves on Sept. 20.
Johnston Police Lt. Lynn Aswegan told People magazine that the 30-year-old went to visit relatives in Germany, but by all indications, "it was a social venture."
"She gave (relatives) the indication she had it taken care of," Aswegan said. "She felt comfortable that the kids were responsible enough to take care of themselves during that duration."
After receiving a tip about 24 hours after she left, police found the kids home alone. According to KCCI Des Moines, the children told police, "Mom left them and left the country."
Police got in touch with Macke, who had planned to return on Oct. 1, and told her she needed to get home. She didn't fly back until a week later and was immediately arrested at her apartment.
"I am really angry, but I wish I could say I am surprised, but I am not," Matthew Macke, Erin's ex-husband and the dad of the two youngest children, told Inside Edition. "In my eyes it was a clear, deliberate, intentional act. ... If she wants to take a vacation, more power to her, but she has a responsibility as a parent."
The 12-year-olds are currently staying with family, and the 7- and 6-year-old children are with their dad.
Macke is being held in the Polk County Jail in lieu of a $9,000 bond. She can have no contact, direct or indirect, with her children. Her next court date is scheduled for Oct. 9.
She may not be old enough to drive or get her ears pierced, and you trust the babysitter with your children’s lives. But unless you have nanny cams staking out every inch of your home, you don’t really know what she's up to while you’re away. Unfortunately, these crazy stories from moms who were sitters themselves back in the day will offer little comfort. (Though they all ultimately had happy endings.)