An Iowa woman who gained national attention last year after she left her four children at home while she toured Europe was given two years of probation on Thursday.
FOX News reports that 31-year-old Erin Lee Macke was initially facing up to eight years in prison for leaving her children, all under the age of 13 at the time, at home alone while she toured Europe, even sharing photos of herself on social media. Polk County District Judge Carol Egly gave Macke two years’ probation after she took the Alford Plea, meaning that although Macke didn’t plead guilty, she acknowledged there was enough evidence against her to be convicted should she fight the charges.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Macke took off on an 11-day excursion throughout Germany in September 2017. However, she didn’t bother to find and mantain adequate childcare for her children: 12-year-old twins, a 7-year-old, and a 6-year-old before she left. At the time, the children’s father, Matthew Macke, said it didn’t surprise him that his former wife did such a thing. He now has custody of her two youngest children..
“Erin’s decision to leave the children was intentional, done knowingly and she has not accepted any responsibility and continued to place blame on everyone else,” Macke said in court this week, according to the Des Moines Register. “Erin refuses to admit that her choices put the children at a substantial risk of harm.”
Erin Macke also left a firearm in the home with the children, according to court documents. Yet, as part of her plea deal, those charges were later dropped.
Court documents indicate Mack intended to leave the kids alone for a few days only until he brother arrived to take care of them. 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. Macke’s attorney stated that most reports fail to reflect that the mom indeed took at least a few measures to have her children taken care of.
Meanwhile, Judge Egly ruled that Macke should still have contact with her children, and recommended that Macke’s lawyers obtain counseling for her as soon as possible.
“I believe these children need to have some sort of direct contact with their mother as soon as possible.”
[Feature Photo: Erin Macke/Police Handout]