A mother called police to her home in Houston, Texas, yesterday and told them she had killed her five children. Their bodies of the children four boys aged from two to seven and a girl aged six months were discovered in a bedroom and the bathroom. All had apparently been drowned.
John Cannon, a spokesman for the Houston Police Department, said the woman, named as Andrea Yates, aged 36, was breathing heavily and clearly disturbed when officers arrived at her home in a quiet suburb of the city.
"She said to the officer, 'I killed my children' and the officer said 'Where are they?' She led the officer to the bedroom where there were four bodies, then to the bathroom where there was one body in the bathtub," Mr Cannon said.
Television pictures later showed Mrs Yates being led away by police, her shirt torn. Mr Cannon said her husband was not a suspect in the killings. He had been at work where he was contacted by his wife. "It is just rather unimaginable," added Mr Cannon. "It's difficult to deal with when you are talking about five little kids who were killed, probably systematically."
Pat Salas, a neighbour of the Yates family, told the Houston Chronicle that three of the children and the husband had attended a party at the weekend. "We asked him why his wife didn't come and he said she didn't get out much because she was depressed," Mr Salas said.
Mrs Yates was said to be suffering from post-natal depression and had been taking medication since the birth of her youngest son two years ago. She had not yet made a formal statement to police, though she was expected to be charged with capital murder. The offence carries a maximum penalty of death by lethal injection.
The bodies of the four youngest children were found in a bed. The body of the eldest, a seven-year-old boy, was found in the bath. Mr Cannon had been rung at work by his wife who told him simply: "You'd better come home."
Shelly Sampson, another neighbour, said: "I'm so shocked this happened so close to where I live and there are five children who will never get a chance to grow up. It's horrendous."Reuse content