A mother of four, from Iowa, was arrested Friday because she left for children aged 6 to 12 home alone to take an 11-day trip to Germany during the annual Oktoberfest festival. Police in Johnston, Iowa conducted a welfare check on Erin Lee Macke's house on September 21 after receiving a tip that her kids were left alone with an unloaded Glock 9MM handgun in the open.
Two magazines - one fully loaded and one partially loaded – were found next the gun. When police called Macke abroad, she said that all of her babysitters fell through so she decided to leave the kids home alone. Police told Macke that was unacceptable and ordered her to return home immediately. However she cut her trip short by four days, returning to the U.S. Wednesday night. She was arrested Thursday morning and charged with four counts of child endangerment and one count of making a firearm available to a person under the age of 21.
The woman being in Bavaria during her trip
She had her first court appearance on Thursday, when she was ordered held in lieu of $9,000 bail. A sentence in this case could be up to two years in jail or one year in jail and a fine between $625 and $6,250. The gun charge is a serious misdemeanor with up to a year in jail time and a fine between $315 and $1,875. 'I’ve never heard of anything like this before,' Johnston Police Lt. Tyler Tompkins told to media relating this case. Iowa Department of Human Services took custody of her children, and they have since been placed with extended family members.