Mother Who Drowned Kids Now Watches Them In Videos

| by Michael Howard
Andrea YatesAndrea Yates

In 2001, Andrea Yates murdered her five young children, who ranged in age from 6 months to 7 years, by drowning them in the bathtub of her Houston home.

Confined to a mental hospital, Yates, now 51, likes to pass the time by watching home videos of her children playing and laughing, according to People.

She drowned her children on June 20, 2001. Police responded to a 911 call from Yates, in which she said she had drowned her children due to postpartum psychosis, according to the New York Daily News.

Yates later said she believed she had been possessed by Satan and that by drowning her children she was saving their souls.

Her 2002 conviction was overturned in 2006, when she was found not guilty by reason of insanity. She has lived in mental hospitals ever since.

She currently resides at Kerrville State Hospital about 70 miles from San Antonio, People reports. Her defense attorney, George Parnham, says she will likely spend the rest of her life there.

Parnham's partner, Wendell Odom, spoke to People about Yates' current state.

"I don't think people understand how shy and reclusive and how afraid Andrea is, especially since all this publicity descended on her. She is truly afraid," Odom said.

Yates, who is the only patient not allowed to go outside the hospital grounds, reportedly sees few visitors. She spends a lot of her time walking outside in the hospital's gardens and working in the hospital's crafts room.

The items she makes, which include aprons and cards, is anonymously sold. The proceeds go to the Yates Children Memorial Fund, a charity founded by Parnham and dedicated to women's mental health.

"It turns a tragedy into a positive force," Parnham told People. "It means a lot to prevent other tragedies in many ways. Now we walk with attorneys about mental health. [Local prosecutors] always ask me about Andrea in a very compassionate way. That’s a far cry from the position the state took years ago, when they sought the death penalty."

In 2015, Yates' husband, Rusty, appeared on "Oprah," and Oprah Winfrey asked him whether he forgave his ex-wife.

"Yes," he said, adding, "Forgiveness kind of implies that I have ever really blamed her. In some sense I've never really blamed her because I've always blamed her illness."

Sources: People, New York Daily News / Photo credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice via Chron

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