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Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
Drowned children buried in Texas
Andrea Yates appears in court following the drowning deaths of her five children
Mrs Yates has reportedly confessed to the killings
The father of five children, allegedly drowned by their mother, choked with grief at their funeral service on Wednesday.

He then placed a blanket next to each body before the caskets were closed for the final time.


If the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, that's exactly what he's done

Russell Yates

"I can't possibly tell you everything there is to know about each one of them," Mr Yates told about 500 mourners at the Clear Lake Church of Christ, a few blocks from the Yates' home in Houston, Texas.

"But I can give you a glimpse of who they were."

Then he described them, losing composure at times. The five white caskets were arranged in an arc, each with a ribbon bearing a child's name.

"If the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, that's exactly what he's done ... He gave me all these children and now he's taken them away," said Mr Yates.

Makeshift memorial to the drowned children near their Houston home
Neighbours have made a makeshift memorial to the children

After the 75-minute service, the caskets were wheeled slowly from the church for the brief procession to a nearby cemetery.

Andrea Yates, 36, has been charged with at least one count of murder after she reportedly confessed to police that she had drowned the children one by one on 20 June.

Prosecutors have not ruled out seeking the death penalty.

Insanity

Defence attorney George Parnham said he was considering an insanity defence, to which juries in Houston have been sympathetic in the past.

On Tuesday, a court issued a gagging order preventing attorneys, police or witnesses from discussing the case with the press.

The move is intended to keep media reports from prejudicing any future jurors.

But an account of the killings was published in a local newspaper two days after the children died.

Quoting an unnamed investigator, the Houston Chronicle said Mrs Yates told police she drowned four of the children before chasing the last one, seven-year-old Noah, through the house.

Mrs Yates then drowned him in the bathtub next to the body of his six-month-old sister, the paper reported.

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