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Andrea Yates spends her days in a mental hospital making crafts and watching videos of her children, her lawyer previously told PEOPLE

By Char Adams
Updated September 01, 2016 11:40 AM
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It’s been more than 15 years since Andrea Yates drowned her five kids in a bathtub of her suburban home in Houston, Texas. And now, as Yates spends her days in a Texas mental health facility, her attorney says she “grieves for her children.”

“There’s not a day that goes by where she doesn’t care for, talk about, is happy about her children’s lives before June 20 and grieves for her children,” Yates’ defense attorney, George Parnham, told NBC News‘ Janet Shamlian in an interview aired Thursday, looking back at the case.

On that fateful day in 2001 – June the 20th – Yates drowned John, Luke, Mary, Noah and Paul in a horrific crime that immediately consumed national headlines. Her children ranged in age from 6 months to 7 years old.

Reporter Phil Archer said he was on scene when Yates was taken into custody, and he recalled to Shamlian this week the emotional moments as authorities escorted Yates from her home.

“Her clothes were still wet, and her hair was still wet from the bathtub,” Archer said. “And they brought her out and she looked like a zombie. There was a sort of wildness in her eyes.”

Yates, now 52, was initially convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison. But the verdict was overturned and in 2006 Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity. (Her defense had long claimed she suffered severe postpartum psychosis and was delusional during the killings.)

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She has since been committed to mental hospitals, and Parnham told Shamlian that she is doing “remarkably well” and has not sought release.

“She has excellent care,” Parnham said. “The hospital where she is, there are no razor wires, there’s no bars, there’s no armed guards, no fences.”

Parnham previously told PEOPLE that Yates will likely spend the rest of her life at the Kerrville State Hospital, a low-security facility in the Texas Hill Country.

Yates is not allowed to go outside the grounds of the 202-bed facility and receives few outside visitors. Instead, Parnham told PEOPLE, she spends her days making crafts and watching videos of her children.

Yates’ then-husband, Rusty, filed for divorce a few years after the killings. But he told Oprah Winfrey last year that he forgives his ex-wife for drowning their children.

“Forgiveness kind of implies that I have ever really blamed her,” Rusty said then. “In some sense I’ve never really blamed her, because I’ve always blamed her illness.”