Mom who toured Europe, leaving 4 kids home alone, gets probation

- An Iowa mother who left her four children at home while she went on a trip to Europe in September was sentenced to two years’ probation Thursday.

Erin Lee Macke, 31, could have faced up to eight years in prison, two years for each count of child endangerment, the Des Moines Register reported.

The Johnston mother entered Alford pleas in February to four counts of child endangerment. In an Alford plea, a person doesn't admit guilt, but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a likely conviction.

Macke had also been charged with one count of making a firearm available to a person under age 21, but prosecutors agreed to drop it as part of the deal, the paper said.

Police were called to Macke's home in September by the children's father. He said the kids — two 12-year-olds, a 7-year-old and a 6-year-old — had been left alone the day before.

Police said Macke failed to make child care arrangements before leaving Sept. 20 for a 10-day vacation in Germany.

Macke’s ex-husband, Matthew Macke, gained custody earlier this month of the two younger children, the Register reported. Custody of the other two children was still being determined in court.

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