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Andrea Yates: She Killed For Nothing

On June 20, 2001, Clear Lake City, Texas was home to one of the most devastating crimes one could imagine: a woman by the name of Andrea Yates drowned all five of her kids in the family bathtub in one hour after her spouse left for job. In her confessions to investigators, she stated that she intentionally waited to run the bathwater until her spouse left due to her awareness that he would prevent her from carrying out the murders.

Pic: Time

What Andrea Face?

With the absolutely brutal act she committed still in mind, her mental health background was analyzed and a history of extreme mental health issues was discovered. A month before the murders, Andrea’s new psychiatrist rejected to prescribe her the antipsychotic she had effectively been on since 1999 and gave her twice the full dosage of another drug with the hostile side effect of “homicidal ideations.”

Andrea Yates was the youngest of five kids born to immigrated parents. She was raised in Hallsville, Texas, and battled with bulimia in her teenage years. By the age of seventeen, she suffered from depression and reportedly discussed with her friend about suicide. Andrea graduated in 1982 as the valedictorian of her class, captain of the swim team, and an officer in her school’s National Honor Society.

After graduation, Andrea became a registered nurse at the University of Texas Cancer Center and worked there from 1986-1994. Soon before leaving her position as a registered nurse, Andrea met her future spouse, Rusty Yates in 1989. The two wedded in 1993 and had their first son, Noah in 1994 before shifting to Seminole, Florida for Rusty’s new job. When their third kid was conceived the family shifted back to Houston, Texas.


After their fourth kid, Luke was born Andrea became increasingly more depressed. On June 15, 1999, Rusty found her chewing on her fingers and rocking herself. The next day, she tried to commit suicide by ingesting prescription pills. She was taken to the hospital and provided antidepressants and released. Soon after this incident, she held a knife to her throat and begged Rusty to let her die. When she was hospitalized after this try, she has prescribed an antipsychotic drug, Haldol, and shortly improved on it.

Andrea suffered a psychotic breakdown in July of 1999 and attempted suicide twice; after these tries, she was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. Despite her psychiatrist, Dr. Eileen Starbranch advising her not to have any more kids, she quit taking her antipsychotic, and seven weeks after her suicide attempt in July, she was expectant with her fifth and final child, Mary.

After Mary was born in November of 2001, Andrea appeared to be coping well with being a new mum again. Nonetheless, after her dad passed away the next March she started mutilating herself and desperately reading her bible in search of something.


A month before the killings, Andrea’s new doctor, Dr. Mohammed Saeed rejected to prescribe her normal antipsychotic, Haldol due to his concerns of potential side effects. Andrea had been on this medicine effectively for almost three years at this point. He did prescribe her a new drug altogether, Effexor, and at twice the recommended maximum dosage. He calmed Rusty’s concerns that she was overmedicated by claiming he had done substantial research on the drug.
Despite the specific instructions of Dr. Saeed not to leave Andrea unattended with the kids, Rusty decided to start leaving her with the children for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening to prevent her from becoming too dependent on them himself and his mum.
On May 3, 2001, Andrea entered a near-catatonic state and filled the bathtub with water to drown her kids; nonetheless, she decided against doing it this day. She was hospitalized the next day after her physician noted that was suicidal and hypothesized that she filled the tub to drown herself, not the kids.

The Day

On June 20, 2001, Rusty left for work with the knowledge that Andrea would be alone with the kids for an hour until his mum reached to relieve her. In this one-hour time frame, Andrea locked the family dog away to avoid any interference and started to drown all five kids, beginning with five-year-old John Samuel. She then drowned three-year-old Paul Abraham and two-year-old Luke David before drowning newborn Mary. She left Mary’s corpse floating in the tub and when Noah, the oldest son, saw his little sister he tried to run and save himself. Andrea caught him, drowned him, then left him floating in the tub.

She methodically placed the corpses of John, Paul, and Luke inside of her bed and tucked the corpse of Mary into John’s arms before calling authorities requesting them to send someone out, but rejected to answer why. She then called Rusty and told him to come home instantly.
After her arrest, Andrea admitted to waiting for Rusty to leave to prevent him from stopping her from executing her plan and murdering the kids to save their souls. She pled not guilty because of madness and this plea was denied in March of 2002. She was found guilty and convicted to forty years in jail.

On January 6, 2005, the state of Texas appealed her conviction due to an observer for the prosecution giving false testimony. On February 1, 2006, she was found not guilty because of madness and was committed to a mental health facility. Despite both state psychiatrists and her defense attorneys agreeing that she was hardly mentally ill at the time of the murders, she was cognitively conscious enough to know about right and wrong.

After Andrea’s second trial, Rusty came forward claiming that the high dose of Effexor Dr. Saeed prescribed Andrea a month before the killings were the reason she murdered their kids. Nonetheless, expert witness testimony from Dr. Lucy Puryear claimed that the dosage of Effexor she was prescribed was ordinary within the medical practice and she thought the reason Andrea “snapped” is because she was taken off her regular antipsychotic drug, Haldol.

After her mental health started to decline after her dad’s death, Andrea checked herself into the hospital to receive mental health treatment. Nonetheless, Andrea’s insurance policy had a limit on ten-day hospitalization stays for mental health. She was released in May of 2001, a month before the killings, and the hospital staff reportedly looked at the floor as she was led out.


During Andrea’s trial, it was disclosed from her jail psychiatrist that Andrea told Rusty she did not want any more kids after their fourth kid was born due to her fear of hurting her kids. His reaction to this was reminding her of his religious beliefs (he wanted as many kids as nature would allow) and reassuring her that she was a good mum and could handle another. She became expectant with Mary soon after this. Even after confessing to the crimes, Rusty believed she would be found innocent, treated at a mental hospital, and released; he was looking at adoption and surrogate mothers.

Rusty filed for divorce from Andrea in August of 2004, remarried in March of 2006, had a son, and his second wife filed for divorce in 2015.

Do you think a failure to prescribe the correct antipsychotics and failure from Andrea’s insurance to keep her hospitalized in May resulted in the casualty of lives of all of her kids?

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