DES MOINES, Iowa —
The ex-husband of a woman who police said abandoned her children as she jetted off to Europe for a vacation said her departure was “an intentional premeditated act.”
Erin Macke, 30, is charged with four counts of child endangerment and one count of transfer of pistol or revolver to a person under 21 after police said she left her children — 12-year-old twins, a 7-year-old and a 6-year-old — home alone Sept. 20 while she traveled to Germany.
Police said they are unsure why Macke made the trip. Johnston police Lt. Tyler Tompkins said the children were left alone for 24 hours before the Police Department and the Iowa Department of Human Services received a tip and visited the children.
Police contacted Macke on Sept. 21, and she told officers she planned to be in Germany until Oct. 1.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this before,” Tompkins said. “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. This, where a parent has left the country and left the kids home alone, I’ve never heard of it before.”
Authorities said they convinced Macke to return to the United States before Oct. 1. She arrived Wednesday evening and was arrested Thursday morning.
Macke was released from the Polk County Jail after posting $9,000 bond. She evaded KCCI reporters and declined to comment on the incident.
The father of the youngest children, Matthew Macke, a police officer who lives in Anamosa, told KCCI he wanted to dispel rumors that he’s a deadbeat dad.
“As soon as I found out about it, I made the trip down to Johnston and picked them up right away,” he said. “They’re too young to grasp it. I haven’t told them much about it. We’ve just had the conversation that we can’t see Mom for a while, and they’re OK with that.”
Prosecutors say Erin Macke made no arrangements for the children before she left to travel overseas, leaving them to fend for themselves.
She now has a no-contact order, meaning she is not allowed to see her children.
Her next scheduled court date is Oct. 9 in Polk County.
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