Russell Yates Says He Forgives His Ex-Wife Andrea for Killing Their Five Children

When it came to treating his wife's mental illness, Rusty Yates said depressed people just need a swift kick in the pants.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jul. 10 2024, Published 2:39 p.m. ET

Andrea Yates, Russell "Rusty" Yates, and their five children pose in a picture
Source: Getty Images

In June 2001, a 37-year-old mother of five drowned her children in a bathtub. Andrea Yates was suffering from postpartum depression but was later convicted of capital murder in March 2002, and sentenced to life in prison. Three years later that was overturned due to materially false testimony from an expert witness.

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When Yates was tried again, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has since been in various mental health facilities. Some believe her husband was partially responsible for what happened.

Where is Rusty Yates now? He has since moved on but harbors no ill will towards Yates.

Rusty Yates stand in a playground
Source: Getty Images
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Where is Rusty Yates now?

In February 2023, Rusty popped up to comment on a case that was quite similar to his own, reported the Independent. While discussing it on Chris Cuomo's NewsNation show, Rusty spoke about Yates who he had long since forgiven.

"Andrea was a wonderful mother," he told Cuomo. "When someone acts so out of character like that it’s a flag that something else is going on."

He added that had she not been sick — Yates was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, and schizophrenia — she never would have hurt their children.

He compared her various illnesses and what they drove her to do, with having a heart attack. For example, if he had one while driving and then accidentally killed multiple people, no one would blame him directly.

"Would they prosecute me for capital murder and rub my face in crime scene photo," he asked. Rusty didn't think so.

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After his divorce from Yates was finalized in March 2005, he married a woman named Laura Arnold in 2006 after meeting at church, per ABC News. She gave birth to their son in March 2008 but the couple divorced seven years later, said People.

Rusty Yates stands behind photos of his children
Source: Getty Images
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Many believe Andrea Yates's husband was partially responsible for what happened to their children.

Exactly one year after Yates drowned her children, during a psychotic break, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal asked a prosecutor to look into possible culpability when it came to the children drowning.

Rosenthal claimed that it wasn't an investigation, but he couldn't ignore the barrage of emails sent to him by individuals requesting he look more closely at Rusty.

"We're looking into it, because we've been asked to look into it," Rosenthal told the outlet.

Rusty would repeatedly blame the deaths of his children on the doctors caring for Yates, suggesting that he wasn't informed of the severity of his wife's sickness.

However, a psychiatrist who treated Yates had warned Rusty that "if Andrea got pregnant again, the post-partum psychosis that twice drove her to attempt suicide would likely return with a vengeance."

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Andrea Yates (R) stands with her attorney George Parnham as the not guilty by reason of insanity verdict is read in her retrial 26 July, 2006
Source: Getty Images

Mohammed Saeed is a psychiatrist who treated Yates at the Devereux facility in the months leading up to the murders. He told Rusty not to leave Yates alone with their children, per the Houston Chronicle.

In January 2005, Yates's brother Brian Kennedy was a guest on Larry King Live where he told the host that at one point, Rusty said they were wasting their time treating Yates, and that depressed people just "need a swift kick in the pants."

Ultimately no legal actions were taken against Rusty. Perhaps Rosenthal put it best when he said, "It's not necessarily criminal to be a bad husband."

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