Andrea Yates, who drowned 5 kids, is refusing chance to go free

Andrea Yates, the Texas mom who drowned her five young children in 2001 while in the throes of postpartum psychosis, remains housed in a mental hospital — and if she gets her way, she’ll never be released.

The Post has confirmed that Yates declined a hearing last month that would have determined whether she was competent to be released from the hospital.

Under the terms of her conviction, Yates is eligible to undergo a review each year. She has repeatedly declined to be assessed.

Andrea Yates killed her four young sons (shown here) and their little sister on June 20, 2001 Getty Images

The Post has learned that Yates, 60, lives a quiet life inside Kerrville State Hospital, which is intended for those acquitted of a criminal offense and committed by a court to receive inpatient mental health services.

She spends her days making greeting cards and other crafts, often featuring rainbows and butterflies. She sells her crafts at art shows and festivals. The proceeds from her sales go to the Yates Children’s Memorial Fund, which helps people suffering from postpartum depression.

Yates has access to the internet, and often spends time on the family website launched by her husband, where she can look at photos of the children she killed.

Yates was 37 on June 20, 2001, when she drowned her five young children in the bathtub of their suburban Houston home.

Rusty Yates was at work as a NASA engineer when his wife murdered their five kids. REUTERS

According to court testimony, she waited for her husband, Rusty, to go to work. When he was gone, she began to kill her children —  Noah, 7; John, 5; Paul, 3; Luke, 2; and Mary, 6 months  —  one by one.

After she drowned the children, she called 911 repeatedly. She reported the children’s deaths, then called Rusty, a NASA engineer, and told him to come home from work.

Yates was charged with five counts of capital murder. The prosecution called the crime “heinous” and advocated for the death penalty. But the defense argued that Yates suffered from severe depression and psychosis as a result of her recent delivery — and that caused her to kill her children.

They sought intensive mental health treatment rather than prison.

Andrea Yates at a 2006 hearing. She was initially found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. ASSOCIATED PRESS

She was initially convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life. Even behind bars, she expressed delusional thoughts, telling authorities that she had considered killing the kids for two years, to save them from eternal damnation.

“My children weren’t righteous,” she told her jail psychiatrist, according to court documents. “They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them, they could never be saved. They were doomed to perish in the fires of hell.”

Based on her mental state, Yates’ lawyers successfully appealed the case and were granted a retrial. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2006. A judge sent her to Kerrville.

While Yates is eligible for a hearing to determine her sanity, she is not required to seek release. According to the courts, she can spend the rest of her life in the facility. She talks to her husband monthly, despite the fact that they divorced and he has remarried.

Six-month-old Mary was Yates’ youngest victim. YATESIKDS

Her defense attorney, George Parnham, has long maintained that Yates is happy and thriving at the Kerrville, the only place she’s called home for the past 17 years.

“She’s where she wants to be. Where she needs to be,” Parnham told ABC News in 2021.

“And I mean, hypothetically, where would she go? What would she do?”

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