An Iowa mother accused of leaving her four children, ranging in age from six to 12, home alone while she traveled to Germany has pleaded not guilty.
Court records say Erin Macke, 30, filed a written plea last week to four counts of child endangerment and one of transferring a firearm to a person under 21.
Police said the latter charge was filed because a firearm was left at home within the children’s reach.
Police have said Macke, of suburban Des Moines, tried but failed to make child care arrangements for her kids – two 12-year-old twins, one child aged seven and another aged six – before leaving on September 20 for a vacation in Germany.
Police say the father of one of the children was called by his child the next day, and he called police. The children were alone for 24 hours because family members took them in.
Macke is due back in court on November 8.
Police in Johnston, Iowa conducted a welfare check on Macke’s house on September 21 after receiving a tip that her kids were without any adult supervision.
They found that not only had the children been left alone, but that they had been left alone with a gun out in the open.
According to the criminal complaint, Macke left an unloaded Glock 9MM handgun on top of her dresser, next to two magazines – one fully loaded and one partially loaded.
The children told police that their mom had left for Germany the day before, and didn’t plan to return until October 1.
When police called Macke abroad, she said that all of her babysitters fell through so she decided to leave the kids home alone.
‘Investigators confirmed that Macke had made no arrangements to provide adult supervision or care for the children while she was away,’ the police department said.
Police told Macke that was unacceptable and ordered her to return home immediately.
But she only cut her trip short by four days, returning to the US in September 27. She was arrested the next day.
Photos posted on Macke’s Instagram in late September showed her touring Bavaria with a female friend and a baby, eating bratwurst and sight-seeing.
Iowa Department of Human Services took custody of Macke’s children, and they have since been placed with extended family members. The two eldest children are with unspecified family members while the two younger children are with their father.
Public records indicate that Macke filed for divorce from her ex, Matthew, in 2013.
A judge ordered Macke not to contact her children.