What was going through this mom's mind?!
Parents can get pretty aggravated that they have to deal with their kids all the time, especially if they’re a single parent. They may even have thoughts about just leaving their current lives behind and running off to find a new one, but it’s extremely rare that it actually happens. You love your children and want to be there for them every step of the way, even if it’s trying sometimes.
Erin Lee Macke had the urge to get away from her four children for a while, however she forgot one thing: to find them a babysitter. She may have gotten what she wanted, in part, though, as Erin Lee may not see her children for a very long time now that she’s been accused of leaving her kids to fend for themselves while she traveled abroad.
On September 21 in Johnston, Iowa, police conducted a welfare check at an apartment they were called to. They found four children eating dinner, but they didn’t find an adult at all. The 12-year-old twins seemed to be caring for six and seven-year-old girls and were doing the best they could under the circumstances. They claimed that their mom had jetted off somewhere and wouldn’t be back until October 1 ― a full 11 days later.
Police found out that their mother Erin Lee Macke had indeed boarded a plane to head out to Germany to visit her brother and his daughter. Erin’s Instagram was full of pictures of her smiling, touring the countryside, and having traditional German meals.
The Johnston Police called her and asked her why she left her children alone. She only responded that she couldn’t find anyone to take care of the kids, so she figured that they could take care of themselves for the 11 days she would be gone. Erin also left out a Glock 9MM gun on her dresser. Two magazines near the gun were loaded.
The police were shocked by her brazen, unaware attitude and ordered her to return home immediately to face the consequences of her actions. She didn’t arrive back in the U.S. until September 28, one week after the order. She was immediately arrested upon arrival and taken to the Polk County Jail.
Lt. Lynn Aswegan of the Johnston City Police told PEOPLE Erin’s demeanor was strange before and during her arrest. “She didn’t understand or agree with the concern and didn’t recognize it was a potential issue and wasn’t alarmed by it. She had the same demeanor upon her arrest. I think most people are pretty surprised,” the Lieutenant said.
Erin was charged with four counts of child endangerment and one count of making a firearm available to a person under the age of 21.
From Germany to Jail
Most people that have heard the story are surprised by Erin’s action and her lack of awareness since her arrest. However, her ex-husband was the only person who claimed not to be shocked.
Matthew Macke told, Inside Edition: “I am really angry, but I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not. 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 couple divorced in 2013. Mathew currently has custody of his two children with Erin. The other two are with extended family.
Once she entered the court room, Erin changed her story to say, “They were with my aunt and uncle as of the twentieth [of September].” Erin was released on a $9,000 bond and was not allowed to contact any of her children.
Johnston Police Lt. Tyler Tompkins told KCCI that he has not had to deal with a criminal situation like this before. He said:
“I’ve never heard of anything like this before. 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.”
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