Andrea Yates killed all five of her children 15 years ago in a murder that would shock the nation. However, instead of spending her life behind bars, Yates has been living in a Texas mental hospital. Ever since she was found not guilty by reason of insanity, Yates has been under the care of the hospital with her lawyer noting she is doing “remarkably well.”
The Daily Mail reports that Andrea Yates escaped charges of murder due to her plea of insanity. The woman was originally found guilty of killing her five young children but appealed the conviction and won on grounds of insanity. On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates methodically killed her five children who ranged in ages from 6 months old to 7 years old. At breakfast that morning, Andrea took her children one by one into the bathroom and individually drowned each child in the bathtub.
Andrea Yates still “grieves for” 5 children she drowned 15 years ago, her lawyer says https://t.co/r644UX9bTi
— TIME.com (@TIME) September 2, 2016
The mother reportedly chose breakfast to kill the children as they would be distracted and she could take them one by one into the bathroom unnoticed. Andrea would kill the first three children as her 7-year-old son ate breakfast in the other room. However, as Andrea finished drowning her newborn daughter, 7-year-old Noah would enter the restroom and see his baby sister floating in the bathtub. He would nearly escape but Andrea was able to grab the child and drown him alongside his siblings.
Andrea then took the four youngest children’s bodies and laid them side by side on a bed while leaving Noah’s body in the bathtub. She then called 911 and asked for police and an ambulance to respond to the scene. After calling for help, Andrea then called her husband and told him to return home from work.
When police and the children’s father arrived, they discovered the horrifying scene. Andrea did not flee and was taken away by police as reporters captured the woman being taken away by authorities. Those who saw Andrea just after the murder of all five of her children described her as having “a wildness in her eyes.” She would later be diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and it was revealed she had a long history of mental health issues.
In fact, Andrea Yates had spent a stint in a mental health hospital in 1999 after she attempted to kill herself twice in a five-day period of time. She then spent years on the drug Haldol, an anti-psychotic. However, against doctor’s advice, when Yates became pregnant for the fifth time she stopped taking the Haldol. The doctor warned both Andrea and her husband that she had a great risk of suffering from postpartum psychosis and needed to be on the medications, but the couple refused. As a result, the doctor informed Andrea’s husband Rusty that the mother should not be left alone with the children for any period of time.
According to Time, on the day of the murders, Andrea was left alone with the children for just one hour. During Andrea’s trial, she told the courts that she felt she had no choice but to kill her children. She claimed if she didn’t kill them, they would be tormented by demons for the entirety of their lives. She would be found guilty of the five murders but would later win an appeal in the case. Ultimately, Andrea was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a Texas mental hospital.
Now, 15 years later, Andrea is still under the care of the hospital and her lawyer George Parnham says she is doing “remarkably well.” Following the trial, Parnham and his wife created the Yates Children Memorial Fund, which aimed to bring awareness to postpartum depression and psychosis. The lawyer says the Andrea keeps up with the foundation’s work and that it makes her “very happy” to know something “good” came of her children’s deaths.
“She’s very enthralled with what YCMF does. She’s thrilled to know that good things are being done for the legacy of her children, and that makes her very happy.”
Though the lawyer says Andrea is doing “well,” he notes she is not likely to ever be released from the mental hospital as she has never asked. He says that during each of her yearly reviews, she refuses to ask for release and instead spends her days watching videos of her children, walking in the mental hospital’s garden, and making crafts which are sold anonymously to benefit charity.
[Photo by Brett Coomer/AP Images]