After studying at the University of Texas School of Nursing, Andrea was employed as a nurse at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Then, in 1989 she met and fell in love with Russell Yates, known as Rusty. And four years later the pair married, before moving to Friendswood, TX.
As adherents of the Christian Quiverfull movement, Andrea and Rusty were committed to having as many children as nature would allow. In February 1994 they welcomed their first child, a son named Noah. Soon after, Rusty found a new job and moved the family to Seminole, Florida.
There, Andrea gave birth to two more sons, named John and Paul. Moving back to Houston, the family started living in a motor-home. However, their lives were soon to be thrown into disarray by Andrea’s deteriorating mental health. After the couple’s fourth child, Luke, was born, Andrea subsequently began suffering from depression.