Iowa Mother Arrested after Leaving 4 Children Alone in Order to Take Pleasure Trip to Germany

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Police have arrested and jailed Erin Macke, of Johnston, Iowa, and charged the mother of four with endangering her children, ages 12, 12, 7, and 6. They have also charged the 30-year-old Macke with transferring a firearm to a person under the age of 21, because she left a firearm in the home which was accessible to the children. All of this so that she could take a 12-day pleasure trip to Germany. While originally she had child care in place, that fell through and she decided to take the trip anyway, leaving the two 12-year-olds in charge.


One of the children called their father after Macke left, and that is how the situation was discovered. The police were then called in, and the children taken into protective custody the day after Macke left on her trip.

According to Lt. Tyler Tompkins, of the Johnston, Iowa Police Department, “They were concerned, they didn’t know, they were confused. I mean, we’re only talking about 12-year-olds being the adults here.”

“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,” he added. (Ed. note: Apparently he doesn’t read news – this just happened on the other side of the world, in Dubai, where police kept a 13-year old boy from killing himself after being abandoned by his mother who had left him to go to the Netherlands.)

While it is unclear who the fathers of the two 12-year-olds are, the father of the six- and seven-year-old, Matthew Macke, has made a public statement (which will be his only public statement, he says) through the Iowa Fathers’ Rights Facebook page.

In his statement Macke explains “This is going to be my only public statement until she is either convicted or found not guilty. I’m the father of the 6 and 7 year olds.” Macke goes on to say that his two children are now with him, and doing well.

The veteran with 9 years of military service, who is now a police officer himself, explained that he and the children’s mother were married for six years. Even after they were divorced, he says, he was a very engaged father, until the alienation started.

“It was when she tried to alienate me from them that we engaged in a very long court battle. This is not the first time she has been investigated for child abuse and it was founded and she was placed on the child abuse registry. Even so the court system would not remove them from her abusive home.”

This, of course, is the experience of countless fathers across the U.S., and around the world. Connecting with fathers’ rights organizations can help, both in the immediate, and in helping to change laws to recognize the reality of parental alienation. (Ed. note: You can also read about how to deal with parental alienation, as well as parental kidnapping and other topics, in They’re Your Kids Too: the Single Fathers’ Guide to Defending Your Fatherhood in a Broken Family Law System.)

Erin Macke was arrested upon her return from Germany.

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