Andrea Yates murdered her 5 children in a bathtub: ID investigates why

Mugshot of Andrea Yates
Andrea Yates was committed to a psychiatric hospital for killing her five children. Pic credit: Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice

Investigation Discovery is examining the case of Andrea Yates, a suburban housewife from Houston, Texas, who murdered her five children in the family’s bathtub.

On the morning of June 20, 2001, Andrea’s husband Rusty left for work, and she prepared breakfast for their five children, just as she would on any normal morning. However, on this day, she also filled a bathtub and systematically drowned her children one by one.

Her oldest son, 7-year-old Noah, tried to run away when he realized what was happening, but Andrea caught him and held him under the water until he passed away.

Andrea then dialed 911 and immediately confessed to killing her children. They had ranged in age between 6 months to 7 years old. She later told investigators that she believed killing them would save their souls.

Andrea Yates suffered psychotic delusions

Andrea was suffering from postpartum depression, psychosis, and schizophrenia; her defense lawyers later claimed she was having psychotic delusions.

She had a long history of mental illness and had even attempted suicide in 1999. She had been prescribed strong anti-psychotic medication, but her prescription was discontinued several weeks before the murders.

It is also believed she was heavily influenced by a traveling minister named Michael Woroniecki, who argued that bad mothers produce bad children who are doomed to burn in hell.

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Rusty Yates argued that evil demons had taken over his wife; he said the devil had preyed on her because she was weak. In 2004, Rusty filed for a divorce.

A high profile trial commenced in spring 2002, which saw Andrea being found guilty of capital murder. She avoided the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.

However, several years later, her conviction was dramatically overturned. A 2006 retrial found her not guilty by reason of insanity, and she was sent to a Texas mental hospital.

She remains imprisoned at the Kerrville State Hospital, a low-security mental health facility. She has since made requests to attend church services and supervised group outings with other patients, but these have so far been denied.

She reportedly spends her time watching videos of her dead children, and her attorney Geroge Parnham says she grieves for them every day.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more heinous crimes profiled on ID.

Lisa Graham hired Kenny Walton to murder her own daughter Stephanie ‘Shea’ Graham because she had become an annoyance. Walton drove the 21-year-old out into Alabama wilderness before shooting her dead as she relieved herself at the side of the road.

Lewis Daynes (18) manipulated 14-year-old teenager Breck Bednar through an online gaming community. One night he persuaded the youngster to come to his home where Daynes sexually abused and murdered him.

Andrea Yates: The Crimes That Change Us airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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