Police were originally called to the residence September 21 following a report that the children were left unsupervised, the New York Post reported.
Police discovered upon further investigation Macke left the country on September 20, and had no intention to return until October 1 - almost two weeks later.
Prosecutors say Erin Macke made no arrangements for the children before she left to travel overseas, leaving them to fend for themselves.
She returned to the United States and police charged her with four counts of child endangerment and another for making a firearm available for someone under the age of 21, according to the Register.
Iowa mother Erin Lee Macke left four children at home while she travelled to Germany. Source Johnston Police
Police said they have never experienced something like this before.
"I've never heard of anything like this before", Johnston Lt. Tyler Tompkins told KCCI. She was arrested on her return. "They were confused. I mean, we're only talking about 12-year-olds being the adults here", Tompkins said.
The woman was arrested upon arrival on Thursday after being contacted by police to demand her immediate return.
The children were held in custody by the Iowa Human Services Department and have now been released to relatives. Police said the last charge was recorded in light of the fact that a gun was left at home inside the kids' span. Hough remains in the Polk County jail on a $60,000 bond. "Apparently she had talked to a couple of family members that earlier on had some conflicts watching the children during that time-frame, and she gave them the indication she had it taken care of". Her next court date is scheduled for October 9.
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The problem has caused check-in delays and booking problems for many airlines including British Airways, Qantas, and Lufthansa. The delays were reportedly caused by a network issue in the global flight-booking system operated by the Amadeus IT Group.