To Save The Children
Crime Spree: June 20, 2001
In 2001, Andrea Yates called 911 and told them to come. She needed an officer at the house. She then called her husband home from work.
She’d drowned all five of her small children in the bathtub then laid them on her bed. And of course she did it all to save them!
You see, she believed that Satan possessed her. That he actually lived inside of her and in order to save the kids from her parenting them right into hell, they would have to die. She also believed that George Bush would condemn her to death, thus killing Satan himself.
Andrea Yates was born on July, 2, 1964 in Hallsville, Texas. She was the youngest of the five children to Jutta Karin Koehler, a German immigrant, and Andrew Emmett Kennedy, of Irish immigrants. Andrea suffered from bulimia during her teenage years. She also suffered from depression and, at 17, she began hinting about suicide.
Yates graduated from Milby High School in 1982. She was the class valedictorian, captain of the swim team, and an officer in the National Honor Society. She completed a two-year pre-nursing program at the University of Houston and graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. From 1986 until 1994, Andrea worked as a registered nurse at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
In the summer of 1989, Andrea Yates met Russell “Rusty” Yates, an engineer, at the Sunscape Apartments in Houston. They soon moved in together and were married on April 17, 1993. They announced that they “would seek to have as many babies as nature allowed,” and bought a four-bedroom house in Friendswood, Texas.
The Childbearing Years
Andrea and Rusty’s first child, Noah, was born in February 1994, just before Rusty accepted a job offer in Florida, The couple relocated to a small trailer in Seminole. By the time of the birth of their third child, Paul, they had moved back to Houston and purchased a motor home.
Following the birth of her fourth child, Luke, Andrea became depressed. On June 16, 1999, Rusty found her shaking and chewing her fingers. The next day, she attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on pills. She was admitted to the hospital and prescribed antidepressants. Soon after her release, she begged Rusty to let her die as she held a knife up to her neck. Once again hospitalized, she was given a cocktail of medications, including Haldol, an anti-psychotic drug. Her condition improved immediately and she was prescribed that drug upon her release. After that, Rusty moved the family into a small house for the sake of her health. She appeared temporarily stabilized.
In July 1999, Yates suffered a nervous breakdown, which culminated in two suicide attempts and two psychiatric hospitalizations that summer. She was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis.
Andrea Yates’s first psychiatrist, Dr. Eileen Starbranch, testified that she urged Andrea and Rusty not to have any more children, as it would “guarantee future psychotic depression.” They conceived their fifth and final child approximately 7 weeks after her discharge. She stopped taking Haldol in March 2000, and gave birth to her only daughter, Mary, on November 30, 2000. She seemed to be coping well, until the death of her father on March 12, 2001.
Yates then stopped taking medication, mutilated herself, and read the Bible feverishly. She stopped feeding Mary. She became so incapacitated that she required immediate hospitalization. On April 1, 2001, she came under the care of Dr. Mohammed Saeed. She was treated and released.
On May 3, 2001, Andrea degenerated back into a “near catatonic” state, and filled the bathtub in the middle of the day; she would later confess to police that she had planned to drown the children that day, but had decided against doing it then. She was hospitalized the next day after a scheduled doctor visit; her psychiatrist determined she was probably suicidal, and had filled the tub to drown herself.
Andrea continued under Dr. Saeed’s care until June 20, 2001. On that day, Rusty left for work, leaving Andrea alone to watch the children, against Dr. Saeed’s instructions to supervise her around the clock, knowing that his own mother, Dora Yates, was scheduled to arrive an hour later to take over for Andrea. In the space of that hour, Andrea Yates drowned all five children in the bathtub.
Andrea started with John, age 5, then Paul, age 3 and finally Luke, age 2. She laid the children on her bed. She then drowned Mary, age 6 months, whom she left floating in the tub. Noah, age 7, came into the bathroom and asked what was wrong with Mary. He then ran, but Andrea soon caught him. She drowned him next. She left him floating in the tub while she took Mary and laid the baby in John’s arms on the bed. Andrea then called the police repeatedly saying she needed an officer, but would not say why. She finally called Rusty and told him to come home at once.
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Are You There Alone?
The Unspeakable Crimes of Andrea Yates
Suzanne O’Malley (Author)
Suzanne O’Malley, through her in-depth research, interviews and personal correspondences, exposes the history of Andrea Yates’s mental illness, attempted suicides and the medical system that failed her.
Are You There Alone is the true story of Andrea Yates. O’Malley, an investigative reporter offers an incisive portrait of Andrea and the drowning of her five young children.
Andrea confessed to killing each of her children. In July of 2006, a jury of her peers found Andrea Yates not guilty of filicide by reason of insanity and she was sent to a maximum security mental hospital where she would finally be given the help she had so desperately needed.
While in prison, Andrea Yates stated that she had considered killing the children for two years, adding that they thought she was not a good mother and claiming that her sons were developing improperly. She told her jail psychiatrist: “It was the seventh deadly sin. My children weren’t righteous. They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them, they could never be saved. They were doomed to perish in the fires of hell.”
In 2007, Andrea Yates was transferred from North Texas State Hospital, Vernon Campus, to Kerrville State Hospital in Kerrville, Texas, where she currently resides.
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