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Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Neighbours' shock at baby killings
Women watch as police investigate deaths of five children in Clear Lake, Texas
Horrified and bewildered: Neighbours knew of Mrs Yates' problems
Stunned neighbours stood in the heavy rain in disbelief as detectives and medical experts worked inside the Texas house where five dead children were found.

Shelly Sampson, who was weeping, said: "I'm so shocked this happened so close to where I live and there are five children who will never get a chance to grow up. It's horrendous."


He told me his wife didn't want to come because she was depressed from having the last babies

Neighbour Raymond Rivera

Neighbour Raymond Rivera said the Yates children regularly played outside and three of them enjoyed themselves during a birthday party at his home on Saturday.

Mr Rivera said he was surprised that Andrea Yates had not joined her husband and children at the party and had asked his neighbour why.

"He told me his wife didn't want to come because she was depressed from having the last babies," Mr Rivera said.

Sympathy

The BBC's Nick Bryant, who is in Houston, said that despite the horrific nature of the crime, there seemed to be local sympathy for the woman.

Mollie Durham comforts her great-granddaughter in Clear Water, Texas
Old and young are shocked at the deaths

He said she was known to be suffering from post-natal depression and people were familiar with her problem.

Judy Hay, a spokeswoman for Harris County Child Protective Services, said Yates was admitted to hospital two years ago following a suicide attempt with a drug overdose.

The agency investigated to ensure that someone was caring for the children and took no action after finding they were being looked after, Ms Hay said.

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See also:

20 Dec 00 | Health
Depression
19 Nov 99 | Scotland
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28 Sep 99 | Health
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12 Mar 99 | Health
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