An Iowa mother reportedly left her four children at home while she vacationed in Germany.
Erin Macke, 30, was charged with four counts of child endangerment and one of transferring a firearm to a person under 21, according to court records cited by the Daily Mail.
Police say Macke tried but failed to make child care arrangements for her children before her Sept. 20 departure for Germany.
So her four children -- 12-year-old twins, and two others aged 6 and 7 -- were left home alone.
The firearm charge was filed because Macke left an unloaded Glock 9mm handgun on top of her dresser, next to two magazines -- one fully loaded and one partially loaded.
The father of one of the children was called by his child the next day, and he called police. The children told police their mom didn't plan to return until Oct. 1.
Police telephoned Macke in Germany, and she explained why she left her kids at home.
"Investigators confirmed that Macke had made no arrangements to provide adult supervision or care for the children while she was away," the police department said.
Make was ordered to return home immediately, but she ignored the demand, and instead posted photos on her Instagram showing her touring Bavaria with a female friend and a baby, eating bratwurst and sightseeing.
She finally came home six days later, on Sept. 27. She was arrested the next day.
Iowa Department of Human Services took custody of Macke's children, and they have since been placed with family members. A judge ordered her not to contact her children.
Macke pleaded not guilty to all charges and is due back in court on Nov. 8.
News outlets have published other stories of mothers leaving their children home alone under unusual circumstances.
Ohio mom Susan Malysa allegedly duct-taped her 11-year-old son to a chair and then left him alone at home while she went swimming at the YMCA, reported WFMJ.
When the grandmother discovered the boy, the tape was reportedly wrapped so tightly that she couldn't get it off, and he had to be rushed to the hospital.
In another case, Utah mother Brandy Jayne locked her special needs son in a bathroom for two years, the Daily Mail reported.
"It would be my definition of a torture room," said Lt. David Crouse of the Washington County Sheriff's Office in a statement to KUTV. "All the light switches were taped into the off position. A baby monitor was setup so voices could come in but not out. So they could give instructions to the child that was in the room. There was fecal matter and urine on the floor, there was open cans of food, like can of beans with a spoon in it; there was also a video camera that was capable of Wi-Fi monitoring."