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Revisiting Andrea Yates 15 Years After She Drowned Her Children

Society & Culture  (tags: sadness, culture, family, Mental health )

- 817 days ago -
ItâEUR(TM)s been 15 years since Andrea Yates drowned her five young children in the bathtub of their suburban Houston home in a quintuple murder that gripped the nation.


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Phyllis P (237)
Tuesday June 21, 2016, 3:53 pm
Yates, now 51, was convicted of capital murder for the high-profile 2001 killings of her four sons and baby daughter. She was sentenced to life in prison, but her conviction was overturned on appeal. She was found not guilty in 2006 by reason of insanity and was sent to a Texas mental hospital, where she remains today.

“I don’t think people understand how shy and reclusive and how afraid Andrea is, especially since all this publicity descended on her,” one of her lawyers, Wendell Odom, told PEOPLE in an article published on Monday. “She is truly afraid.”

Yates suffered from depression and had tried to commit suicide at least once before she systematically drowned all of her children on June 20, 2001. They ranged in age between 6 months to 7 years old.

Her attorneys said the murders were brought on by psychotic delusions, exacerbated by repeated episodes of postpartum depression, TIME previously reported in a lengthy investigation in 2002.

Phyllis P (237)
Tuesday June 21, 2016, 3:53 pm
On the morning of the murders, after her husband left the house to go to work, Andrea Yates fed her children breakfast and drowned them one by one as their siblings ate.

Her firstborn, a 7-year-old named Noah, tried to run away when he realized he was the last to die. His mother told police how she chased him and drowned him facedown in 9 inches of cold water in the tub as his baby sister’s body floated next to him, TIME reported.

Now Andrea Yates is likely living out the rest of her life at the Kerrville State Hospital, a low-security mental health facility in Texas, according to PEOPLE.

Phyllis P (237)
Tuesday June 21, 2016, 3:58 pm
I read a in depth story on this case a year or so ago. All the signs were there....she was depressed with severe post partum depression. Yet her husband, who is in absolute denial to this day, kept getting her pregnant and adding more children to an already mentally unstable and depressed mother. Yes she committed the crimes, which I find absolutely stomach turning. But her husband should be shot for his part in this tragedy, IMO.

Solitary Eagle (324)
Tuesday June 21, 2016, 4:04 pm
I agree with you Phyllis. The husband is more guilty than Andrea. He didn't have postpartum depression to cloud his judgement. Thank you for posting.

Sheryl G (360)
Tuesday June 21, 2016, 7:22 pm
I'm sure he tried to pray it away. I recall this case and the woman needed a lot of help and she didn't receive it. I'm sure the husband never thought she'd do what she did but he didn't help matters. Terrible tragic and most sad. I felt so badly that those children had to die and the last one knowing what was going to happen and he couldn't get away.

Beryl Ludwig (80)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 5:35 am
how terrifying. She obviously did this while suffering from a deep depression. No one would possibly chase a child to his sad death without suffering from delusions. She should never have been imprisoned. The husband witnessed her instability and she never recuperated from the postpartum depression from the first child. I would be ashamed if I were him when he finally saw the results of his ignorance. I agree. He saw this condition she had and should have gotten her help at the first sign with her youngest. I am sorry this lady never had any support with her first child. This condition is caused by a hormonal imbalance and will progress if never treated.

Barbara F (47)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 7:34 am
Noted. TY Phyllis. I won't say what I'm thinking b/c it stir up a whole different can of worms. I will say that I do not think her conviction should have been overturned, though... NO!

Phyllis P (237)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 10:02 am
Barbara, you have a right to your opinion. I would never condemn any one for saying how they feel. But I do understand completely.

Dawnie W (250)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 10:37 am
❤️I never understand why someone who is depressed thinks it's okay to kill their children but stay living themselves. She should have killed herself first and let her children be raised by someone who would love them unconditionally. Just because someone brings children into the world doesn't give them the right to snuff their life out. And too many self absorbed people think their children are property, to be done with as they selfishly choose and as in this case five beautiful little children are dead from horrific murder by their own mother who should love them not murder them. I'm sorry but the only ones I feel sorry for are these beautiful children. So sad for all concerned and not a winner in sight.❤️
❤️Thanking you kindly for sharing this information❤️
💕💛ღ❤️Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ💕♥L💜ve, Hugs and Peace go with you all♥💕Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ❤️ღ💛💕

Beth M (138)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 11:18 am
Her husband sounds like a religious fanatic and I agree he should have been held accountable, too.

Henriette M (154)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 12:45 pm
Just awful for every one concerned! Innocent children paid the price of their parents problems! Life is not fair in many circumstances, hopefully in the end times every thing will be dealt with honestly & justly by our creator! Thanks Phyllis.

Past Member (2031)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 1:36 pm
Her husband, Rusty Yates, at the time said the two of them had always planned on having a big family but demons took hold of his wife. “The Bible says the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour. I look at Andrea, and I think that Andrea was weak,” he had told TIME. “Think about a field of deer, and there’s one limping around, and that’s kind of the way I see it. Andrea was weak, and he attacked her.”

My heart always did go out to not only her innocent children but Andrea. She should have never been tried for murder. Clearly, she had mental problems and an overly religious husband who was of no use.

Frances Darcy (124)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 1:47 pm
Tragic for everyone

Lona G (67)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 3:42 pm
What a sad story. Andrea must have been severely depressed, because it's rare that depressed people end up having psychotic episodes. Being married to a unfeeling zealot must have exacerbated her condition.His bible-thumping explanation why she was to blame for it all, makes me nauseous. She did a terrible thing, the most horrible thing a mother can do, but if he had had any sense at all, he wouldn't have talked about demons, but gotten her treatment instead.

Julie C (29)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 5:06 pm
With severe depression, your brain literally does not process information the same way. The idea of sending her kids to be with God and out of the hell she was experiencing on Earth may have seemed like a huge blessing she was giving them. Staying here and living through the life she hated may have been her self-inflicted punishment. I once knew an artist with severe depression who could no longer see color. He literally saw the world in black and white. It is a horrible illness that is hard to imagine if you or someone you love hasn't gone through it.

Pat B (356)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 5:10 pm
A tragedy that should have never happened, it stunned everyone and the nation.
Those poor defenseless children!! How very, very sad.

Thanks, Phyllis.


Rose Becke (141)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 5:11 pm
Spot on Lona

Her husband has a lot to explain !

Shirley S (187)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 5:25 pm
I think her local doctor should have noticed her condition.

Cheryl Aaron (18)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 6:53 pm
Hi Phyllis,
it's so important to have a supportive person in your life that you could talk to after the birth of a child. Andrea Yates' husband seemed like he was an abusive husband. I'd bet he abused her mentally for most of her marriage and all she could think of was getting out for herself and her children. How sad...peace.

Laurie H (818)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 9:46 pm
I recall this case with such sorrow and heartbreak. These poor precious children paid the ultimate price for all the parents failings. Andrea never received the help that was So Desperately needed and he has much to answer for in many regards. Thank You So Much Phyllis~~~

Jonathan Harper (0)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 1:02 am

Teresa W (782)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 2:44 am
very sad

Rhonda B (99)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 5:48 am
Poor children! I remember being very sad. I had too young children at the time.Thank you Phyllis.

Mandi T (367)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 11:05 am
I remember , it was shocking and so very very sad. Much help was needed for her that wasn't given or found.

Hugh Smith (112)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 12:08 pm
At the end of the day a family has been victim to the loss of the children that can only be explained by an act done whilst mentally ill. Leaves it still wide open with a lot ambiguity.

Knud Thirup (52)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 12:35 pm
Noted/I am sad

Sherri OConnor (55)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 1:46 pm
There is no excuse for killing her children. If you get that depressed, do off yourself, not your children or your pets. If this had of been a father committing this crime, he would have been fried, with no sympathy shown.

pam w (139)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 2:43 pm
My feelings are very mixed....I hope she never gets out.

Lois Jordan (63)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 3:13 pm
Noted. Thanks, Phyllis.
Her husband saw her as "weak." He proselytized to her and made her feel more guilty for her thoughts and feelings. She was already deep in depression. For him to be able to just walk away from this thinking he was right and she was wrong made me so angry. In fact, I blamed him much more than I blamed her.
She is where she belongs--in a mental health facility rather than jail. But, if she had been able to get the real help she truly needed, this wouldn't have happened at all.

Roro l (0)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 4:27 pm
Thank you for sharing.


Suzanne L (99)
Thursday June 23, 2016, 10:41 pm
Lots to think about in this case. An estimated 200 women deliberately kill their children every year in the U.S. Megan Huntsman of Utah confessed to strangling and suffocating her 6 newborn babies over a 10 year period. Police found them stuffed in cardboard boxes in her home. A more publicized case occurred in 1983 when Diane Downes drove to a hospital with a bullet wound in her forearm and 4 bloodsoaked children on the verge of death. Her 7 year old survived to testify that her mother had shot them all. It came out that Diane had a new boyfriend who didn't like kids. It's also important to remember that there are a lot more mothers out there who experience severe post partum depression with periods of psychosis who do not harm their children. I have spoken with women who literally fled the home and left the children with the other parent, their own parents or other relatives, or neighbours because they were afraid they would harm the children - and they were able to observe and recognize their psychotic thinking. There were a lot of factors operating in the Yates family but these crimes were planned out and took some time to complete. Not the work of a disorganized, completely psychotic individual.

Sheryl G (360)
Friday June 24, 2016, 5:52 am
Another case:

On October 25, 1994, Susan Smith reported to police that her vehicle had been carjacked by a black man who drove away with her sons still in it. For nine days, she made dramatic pleas on national television for their rescue and return.

However, following an intensive investigation and a nationwide search, on November 3, 1994, she confessed to letting her 1990 Mazda Protegé roll into nearby John D. Long Lake, drowning the boys a 3 year old and 14 month old inside.

Ben O (140)
Friday June 24, 2016, 9:38 am
So tragic...I don't know what to say...

Trish K (29)
Friday June 24, 2016, 12:53 pm
To many sad memories

Julie W (33)
Saturday June 25, 2016, 2:57 am
Horrific, sad story - but don't we hear enough bad news without dragging up something from 15 years ago?

margaret cochran (41)
Saturday June 25, 2016, 10:19 am

Lenore K (0)
Saturday June 25, 2016, 5:47 pm

roxy H (350)
Saturday June 25, 2016, 11:21 pm
these women yates and smith make me shiver -.-

Jeanne R (1203)
Saturday June 25, 2016, 11:27 pm
I remember this case well and as much as I abhor abuse of any kind, I felt that this situation had extenuating circumstances. The more I heard of Andrea's state of mind and her reality, I felt my anger and disbelief turn to compassion for her and her children. If I'm angry with anyone, it's her husband. How dare he say that she was weak and that the "devil" took her over. It sounded like he was a religious zealot that did not believe in contraception despite the fact that she was totally overwhelmed and suffered from PPD at the time and, also, previously with her other children. It seems that he still hasn't accepted any ownership in this tragic situation. As I recall, there had been red flags for years that he was too blind (or stupid) to recognize, I don't know her diagnosis but I don't think she should spend her entire life in a psych hospital. May her children RIP and I hope that, one day, she'll be able to forgive herself.
Thank you, Phyllis, for reminding us of this sad case that continues to have important relevance to this day!

Stella G (403)
Sunday June 26, 2016, 10:49 am
Ho letto di questo caso anni fà, e sono ancora sconvolta. Come può un marito che si definisce dedito alla famiglia, non accorgersi della sofferenza della propria moglie? Non ci sono attenuanti per lui, questa povera donna era malata, e lui continuava a prendere da lei quello che gli interessava. Lui merita la prigione, e quella povera donna cure e amore appropriate, non oso immaginare il dolore che prova adesso, o quando si è affacciata alla realtà. Grazie Phyllis per ricordarci questo tragico caso.

Irene S (69)
Tuesday June 28, 2016, 3:05 am
What a sad story!
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