A mother-of-four from Iowa who left her children, ages six to 12 at the time, home alone for 11 days while she vacationed in Europe was sentenced to two years of probation.
Erin Macke, 31, entered an Alford plea in February to four counts of child endangerment after leaving her children, then aged between six and 12, at their home in Johnston to go overseas to Germany in September 2017, reports Des Moines Register.
Macke entered an Alford plea of guilty to the charged in February, the newspaper said. The gun charge against her was dropped by prosecutors. When they arrived, they found four children including two 12-year-olds, a 7-year-old and a 6-year-old.
Macke's ex-husband, Matthew Macke, gained custody earlier this month of the two younger children, the Register reported.
A neighbor was supposed to check in on the children until the brother arrived, but within a day of her departure, the father of one of her children called and demanded she return home.
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Court documents said that Macke meant to leave the children alone from September 20-22 until her brother could start caring for them.
Police alerted child protective services and got in touch with Macke, who reportedly had been posting photos from the Danube River and the Walhalla memorial in Germany. The children were alone for 24 hours before family members took them in, reported KCCI.
"They were concerned, they didn't know, they were confused", Tompkins said of the youngsters.
The Iowa mother packed her bags and boarded a plane bound for Europe. Custody of the other two children was still being determined in court.
"She felt comfortable that the kids were responsible enough to take care of themselves during that duration", Lt. Lynn Aswegan, with the Johnston Police Department, told People magazine at the time. She was scheduled to return October 1.
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Erin Macke also left a firearm in the home with the children, according to court documents.
But she only cut her trip short by four days, returning to the United States in September 27.
Via a victim advocate, McQuary echoed many of Matthew Macke's arguments, saying that Macke did not "feel any remorse or responsibility for her actions".
Erin Macke's attorney, Michael Oliver, acknowledged that his client made a mistake but told the court that she should be able to make amends and move on from it.
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