Andrea Yates was suffering from postpartum psychosis when she drowned her five children - Noah, John, Paul, Luke, and Mary - on June 20, 2001. She murdered them in the bathroom of the Houston, TX home that shared with husband Russell Yates in order to prevent them from ending up in hell. Andrea was found guilty in 2002, then had her conviction overturned four years later. She has since been in a mental institution undergoing treatment. Her case brought national attention to the plight of women diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and depression.
Russell Yates, father of all the deceased children, divorced her in 2005 and remarried the next year. Although he now appears to be supportive of his ex-wife, he reportedly insisted that she be left alone when caring for the children despite professional advice and he seemed to disregard the fact that she was was mentally ill and incapable of healthily bearing more offspring.
The Family Lived For A Time In A Converted Bus And Andrea Home-Schooled All Of Her Children By Herself; Both Things Seemed To Pressure Her Immensely
Unlike most couples who settle down after they start having kids, the Yates rejected the norm. Instead, they moved from a suburban house to a converted bus with all five of their children. While Rusty left the "bus house" every day for work, Andrea was left in the confined space to home-school her children.
This added pressure didn't help her mental health, which was already unstable because of postpartum depression. The family moved to a proper house after a fourth child was born but that wasn't enough to improve her condition.
The Yates Family's Preacher Was A Huge Negative Influence On Them
Russell Yates met Michael Woroniecki, a traveling preacher who would eventually become his family's religious idol, while in college. The couple tried to emulate Woroniecki's way of life and listened to all of his commands. The man preached that everyone was hell-bound and the couple was devout, nonetheless.
Andrea's weakened mental state left her vulnerable and she believed Woroniecki's pronouncement wholly. When she killed her children, she thought that she was saving them from a life in hell.
Between 1999 And 2001, She Was Admitted To Mental Institutions On Four Different Occasions
Andrea's first mental breakdown occurred in 1999 after the birth of fourth child Luke. In June of that year, she purposely overdosed on depression medication and wound up in the psychiatric unit of a Methodist hospital. The next month, she attempted suicide again and was taken to Memorial Spring Shadows Glen Hospital. She was put on haldol, an antipsychotic medication, which seemed to work because she went two years without trying to kill herself or her children.
However a few months after the birth of fifth child Mary, in 2001, Andrea's mental state worsened again. She was admitted to Devereux Texas Treatment Network twice in early 2001 and again placed on a regimen of antipsychotics.
Her father also died in 2001 and that may have contributed to her condition.
She And Her Husband Were Told To Stop Having Children
The couple were warned about having more children. Andrea would have to stop her medication and the after-effects of pregnancy would cause her depression once again. Despite doctors' warnings, Andrea stopped taking her medication and became pregnant with a fifth child.
For a time, Russell allegedly denied Andrea's mental illness. Instead, he believed that "demons" caused all of her problems. Perhaps he thought that another child would scare away these demons?