Iowa mother-of-four Erin Macke had planned a 12-day trip to Germany and jetted off on September 20.
But while away, the mother allegedly left her young children—as young as six and as old as 12—home alone, authorities claim.
As PEOPLE reports, Ms Macke has been charged with four counts of child endangerment and a firearm charge and appeared in court on Tuesday.
Authorities allegedly found the children home alone after more than 24 hours on September 21. Ms Macke was then called by police and ordered to cut her holiday short and return home.
Officers were alerted to the unsupervised children when they received a call from the father of the two youngest children.
Authorities also reportedly found a gun in Ms Macke’s home that was in the range of the children.
Police Department Lt. Lynn Aswegan said the mother was unable to line up anyone to look after the children.
“She felt comfortable that the kids were responsible enough to take care of themselves during that duration,” he said.
“I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not,” ex-husband, Matthew Macke, told Inside Edition.
Ms Macke has been released on bond and will be arraigned on November 2.