Erin Lee Macke packed her bags and headed off for a relaxing European vacation, but she skipped out on making one important arrangement before she left for her trip.

The 30-year-old Iowa mother who left for Germany on September 20, had made plans to return on October 1, but that changed, though when police got a call about who she left behind, according to KCCI.

Macke’s four children, including two 12-year-olds, a 7-year-old and a 6-year-old, were left to fend for themselves while their mom lived it up on vacation.

Police found the kids home alone on Sept. 21 when they checked on them the day after their mother left the country after they received a tip from a father of one of the children.

The kids told police:

“Mom left them and left the country.”

Johnston police Lt. Tyler Tompkin said Macke decided to leave her younger children in the care of the two 12-year-old children when she couldn’t find a babysitter for them.

A clearly shocked Tompkin’s said:

“I’ve never heard of anything like this before. 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.”

Macke didn’t get to enjoy her extended European vacation after police convinced her to turn around and come home once they discovered the abandoned children.

She arrived home six days later to face four counts of child endangerment, and one count of making a firearm available to a person under the age of 21 for a gun police found inside the house with kids while they were alone.

The mother was placed in the Polk County Jail in lieu of a $9,000 bond and was given a no-contact order, blocking her from seeing her kids. Macke is set to return to court on October 9.

The children were placed with family members after their mother’s arrest.

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