A mother in Johnston, Iowa, flew off on an 11-day European vacation in Germany, leaving her four Children to care for themselves. This resulted in her being jailed on child endangerment charges. The children were also aware of a gun that was left unsecured in the home.

Authorities in Johnston, Iowa, said Friday that 30-year-old Erin Lee Macke flew to Germany on September 20, without being able to organize childcare for her four children, two of which are aged 12, while the others are six and seven years of age.

Mother flies off to Germany

Lt. Tyler Tompkins of the Johnston Police said they have often seen parents who have left their children alone – maybe to go next door or to a movie – and while that is also wrong, flying off to another country for 11 days takes this to a whole new level.

Johnston Police Lieutenant Lynn Aswegan said posts on social media suggested the trip to Germany was of a social nature.

CBS News reports that police were made aware on September 21 that the children had been left alone in the home and immediately contacted child protective services. They then called Macke in Germany and ordered her to return to the U.S. Johnston had reportedly planned to return Sunday and told the officer who called her that she didn’t see leaving the children alone as being a problem.

Iowa mother arrested on four counts

On her return to the US on Thursday, Macke was arrested on four counts of child endangerment. She is also facing one count of leaving a firearm in the home, which was available to persons under the age of 21, as the weapon was unsecured and the children knew it was there.

She appeared in court on Friday. She is currently being held in Polk County Jail on a $9,000 bond and has been ordered to have no contact with her children.

According to Aswegan, all four children are now in the custody of family members. She added that the children were from two separate fathers, neither of which resides in the home.

It was one of these fathers, who lives in Texas, that had made the initial call to police after finding out the children had been left at Home Alone by their mother.

According to a report by KCCI, Tompkins said Macke had tried to find child care for her children without success and left the two 12-year-olds to care for the young ones.

Tompkins said the children had been along for around 24 hours before police received the call, adding the children had told them their mother had left them alone and left the country. Speaking of the children, he said they were concerned and confused, adding that the situation involved 12-year-olds trying to act as adults.

According to a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Human Service, Amy McCoy, while Iowa state law does not specify a time limit or age when relating to leaving children alone, parents must always provide for the safety of their children.