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Andrea Pia Yates was an accomplished person, as a high school valedictorian, swim team champion, college graduate, and registered nurse. Andrea Yates also started practising the same form of religion. This sect of Christianity, led by the religious mentor and traveling preacher, Michael Woronieck, was considered by some to be a religious ‘cult’. Over the next seven years, Yates gave birth to five children, and suffered one miscarriage. Throughout this time, her mental health declined steadily. On June 20th, 2001, Andrea Yates drowned all her children in the bathtub, one by one, within one hour’s time. In a few months’ time, she was convicted of capital murder in Harris County, Texas, and sentenced to life imprisonment, which was revoked after three years of her serving her sentence. After a retrial, on the grounds of not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) she was transferred to a forensic mental health facility (Denno, 2003). Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to develop a psychosocial profile of the offender Andrea Yates, who drowned all her five children in a bathtub. Criminal Profiling of Andrea Yates Yates had a long psychiatric history prior to her killing her children. She had suffered several psychotic episodes and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and postpartum depression. Consequently, she had undergone numerous hospitalizations, including one just a month prior to the killings, and was under treatment with psychotropic medications (Ayres, 2006). Among the psychological reasons attributed to Yates’ killing of her five children, was the element of guilt which she felt at having lived with her husband before marriage. Further, she had guilt feelings after her two suicide attempts, realizing that she was needed by her family to look after them. She also suffered from guilt at her children behaving in a detached manner with her due to her hospitalizations and day treatments. Moreover, she blamed herself for her father’s death, believing that as a nurse she could have prolonged his life (West & Lichtenstein, 2006). Yates’ daily life became burdensome for her. The stress of homeschooling her children, her motherly duties and wanting more children overwhelmed her. Her stress increased with the Yates family living for a few years in the crowded space in a bus. She expressed to her husband that she felt guilty for not being able to make a successful home life on the bus. Yates’ belief systems ranged from the ordinary to the bizarre. She looked up to the concept of an ideal mother, as sermonized by the couple’s religious mentor and traveling preacher, Michael Woronieck (Delph, 2007). Among other teachings, Woronieck instilled in Yates that women are sinners as the descendants of Mother Eve, and if they do not raise their children in the right manner, they deserve to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Andrea’s husband Russell faithfully followed these teachings, and insisted that her role was that of homemaker (Forlizzi, 2006). Yates struggling with mental illness was further exacerbated by the pressures of taking care of a large family. “This set her up for disaster” (West & Lichenstein, 2006, p.181). She considered her husband Rusty to be controlling and manipulative, imposing his ideas of having as many children as God would allow. Feeling extremely inadequate in her role as mother, she was obsessed about how her children would turn out. Moreover, “her religious beliefs included the existence of demons and their ability to possess”
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Andrea was married to Russell Yates for ten years and they had initially led a normal and peaceful life. Later Russell started to notice changes in Andrea’s eating habits and she became highly reclusive. She was hospitalized in 1999 for showing symptoms of depression and also over-medication.
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