On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates drowned all five of her children.
On a double bed in a back master bedroom, four children were laid out beneath a sheet, clothed and soaking wet. All of them were dead, with their eyes wide open. In the bathtub, a young boy was submerged amid feces and vomit floating on the surface. He looked to be the oldest and he was also dead.
The children’s thin, bespectacled mother—-the woman who had called 911 seeking help—-appeared able to talk coherently, but her frumpy striped shirt and stringy brown hair were soaked. She let the officers in, told them without emotion that she had killed her children, and sat down while they checked. Detective Ed Mehl thought she seemed focused when he asked her questions. She told him she was a bad mother and expected to be punished. Then she allowed the police to take her into custody while medical personnel checked the children for any sign of life. She looked dispassionately at the gathering crowd of curious neighbors as she got into the police car.