On September 21 – just one day after Macke had flown overseas to Europe – police showed up on her front doorstep. Someone had called in to local authorities with a tip-off that the mother-of-four had left her children alone in the apartment. So police officers were dispatched to the address to perform a welfare check.
The Johnston police could not believe the circumstances they were presented with. Lieutenant Tyler Tompkins of the department later spoke to the CBS-affiliated TV channel KCCI which serves the Des Moines area. “I’ve never heard of anything like this before,” he said. “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.”