Washington, London – A vacation in Europe has cost a US mother her freedom. The mother of four has been sentenced to jail after being accused of endangering her children and leaving them alone at home for 11 days.
According to Reuters, Erin Lee Macke, 30, traveled from Johnston, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines, to Germany on September 20 without arranging child care for her three children, aged 12, 6 and 7, Johnston police said. The children also had access to a gun in the houses, according to the police.
Janet Wilwerding, a spokeswoman for the city of 22,000 said: “The police have seen times when people have left their children to go somewhere, but to go to another country is completely different.”
This news made headlines in some English newspapers. The Daily Mail described Macke as “America’s worst mom”, and people commented on the incident on her personal page on Facebook.
Police on September 21 discovered the children at the house, notified child protective services and then called Macke in Germany, ordering her to return. The children were placed in the custody of family members, police said.
Johnson Police Lieutenant Lynn Aswegan said that the mother’s social media posts suggested it was a recreational trip.
Amy McCoy, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Human Services said Iowa state law does not specify any age or time limit for leaving children alone, but parents must provide for their safety.
“Had this been a situation where maybe Ms. Macke was leaving for a couple hours to have dinner in town, that’s one situation where this might not have been a significant concern,” Aswegan said.
Polk County Jail’s website showed that Macke was being held on a $9,000 bail.