BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Nick Bryant in Houston
"The oldest was seven, the youngest just six months old"
 real 56k

Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Texas child killer 'loved her kids'
Andrea Yates
Mrs Yates was being treated for post-natal depression
The husband of a 36-year-old Texas woman who has been charged with murder after confessing to drowning her five children in a bath says he supports her because she is ill.

She loves our kids. Anybody who knew her knew that

Russell Yates
Andrea Yates, who was reported to be receiving treatment for severe post-natal depression, called her husband and the police to her suburban Houston home after the killings.

Russell Yates arrived home at the same time as the police, who said Andrea was "disturbed" when she met the responding officer, telling him: "I killed my children."

Russell Yates
Russell Yates works at the Johnson Space Centre
"One side of me blames her because she did it, but the other side of me says she didn't... She wasn't in the right frame of mind," Mr Yates told reporters.

"She loves our kids," he said. "Anybody who knew her knew that."

'I love her'

Mr Yates - a computer specialist - said his wife had been on medication, especially following the death of her father.

Pointing to Mrs Yates on a family picture, he said: "The woman here is not the woman who killed my children."

You'd better come home

Andrea Yates to husband
"I want to help her through this," he said. "I want to show her I love her and support her."

Mr Yates was speaking on the front lawn, near a tree that was turned into a memorial site decorated with flowers and a large stuffed polar bear.

Stunned neighbours

The police officer who responded to Mrs Yates' call was led to a back bedroom and found a sheet with four dead children on it.

A fifth child was found in the bath.

"It's difficult to deal with when you are talking about five little kids who were killed, probably systematically," said police spokesman John Cannon.

They were nice folks - the kids were very well behaved

Yates' neighbour
The children were aged six months to seven years.

The news stunned the well-to-do neighbourhood of Clear Lake, near Houston's Johnson Space Centre.

"They were nice folks," one neighbour said. "The kids were very well behaved."

Another, Pat Salas, said she had invited the Yates family to a child's party over the weekend. Ms Yates' husband told Ms Salas that she would not be coming because she had "depression from having babies".

Mrs Yates was taken to county jail and charged with multiple counts of murder late on Wednesday.

The maximum sentence, if convicted, is death by lethal injection.

According to US television reports, the Texas Department of Child Protective Services says they were informed two years ago that Mrs Yates had tried to kill herself.

The department decided the children were not in danger, the reports said.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

22 Jun 01 | Americas
Analysis: US law and infanticide
21 Jun 01 | Americas
Neighbours' shock at baby killings
19 Nov 99 | Scotland
Trusts 'ignoring' depression advice
28 Sep 99 | Health
Massage beats baby blues
12 Mar 99 | Health
Depressed mums 'need more help'
21 Jun 01 | Health
Post-natal depression
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories