Psycho Mom

Lisa Diaz had to save her "precious babies" from an evil world. She drowned them.

Though police made a videotape of the Yates crime scene--including the five dead children--they never recorded Yates. If they had, the jurors would have seen a pathetic, disoriented woman. Would the jury have rendered a different verdict if it had seen Yates in the state she was in just hours or days after she'd drowned her kids?

In contrast to the Yates case, jurors at the Lisa Diaz trial saw directly inside her harrowing world, where germs and worms and evil spirits tormented Diaz and her children. The morning of the slayings, the signs and omens had become clear: So Diaz did what any good mother would do. She set out to save her precious babies.


Wearing dark jail coveralls, Lisa Diaz perches uneasily on a chair, her long black hair parted on the side and hanging past her shoulders. Behind her is a white cinder-block wall of the Collin County Detention Center. The camera frame captures her face and upper body and remains fixed at the same distance throughout eight videos. Her male interrogator is unseen.
Plano police found Lisa Diaz sitting in the family car, bleeding from self-inflicted stab wounds. Below: After Diaz drowned her daughters, she stripped, climbed into the bathtub and stabbed herself 20 times. She was trying to pierce her heart. Inset: the kitchen knives Diaz used to cut herself.
Plano police found Lisa Diaz sitting in the family car, bleeding from self-inflicted stab wounds. Below: After Diaz drowned her daughters, she stripped, climbed into the bathtub and stabbed herself 20 times. She was trying to pierce her heart. Inset: the kitchen knives Diaz used to cut herself.
Angel Diaz described his wife to the jury as a "loving mother." The couple are now getting divorced.
Angel Diaz described his wife to the jury as a "loving mother." The couple are now getting divorced.

A pretty, waif-like Latina with a wide, full mouth, a strong nose and brown eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses, Lisa listens with suspicion as Dallas psychologist Dr. Jaye Crowder explains that he is there at the request of her court-appointed attorney, Steve Miller. It has been three weeks since Lisa's arrest, and Miller wants to have his client examined as soon after the events as possible. Lisa agrees to the interview in a soft voice.

She seems subdued, unexpressive but lucid. Over 12 hours of interviews, Lisa will eventually describe why and how she killed her children. Her voice will fade to a whisper, as if she's afraid guards will overhear. By tape eight, when Dr. Crowder presses her for details about the killings, Lisa stares at the floor, rocks back and forth, licks and bites her lips and obsessively rubs one shoulder. She pauses and mumbles and stares, then breaks down in wrenching sobs.

Dr. Crowder's interview began simply enough: Describe how you grew up.

Born in 1970 and abandoned soon after by her mother, Lisa and her sister Michelle were raised by their great-grandmother until Lisa was 4. After the great-grandmother's death, the girls lived with their great-aunt, where they felt rejected. Their mother, Rosemary Cano, remarried and came to get them when Lisa was 9.

Her mother seemed "like a stranger," and the girls had trouble adjusting to her ways. Lisa had no contact with her father until a visit when she was a teenager. Lisa's stepfather, whom Lisa liked, left after four or five years.

Lisa admits that her mother probably should have left them with the great-aunt. As bad as her great-aunt's home was, Cano's household was worse. "You look a little tearful again," Dr. Crowder says. "Do you remember crying about it?"

"Yeah, at the beginning," Lisa says, taking off her glasses to wipe away tears.

Lisa's childhood unhappiness gave way to a troubled teenage life. Never a disciplinary problem, Lisa made good grades in school until ninth grade, when she got pregnant and dropped out. She later earned a GED. Her first husband, David Sanchez, was controlling and jealous, she says. Lisa gave birth at age 17 to their daughter, Misty. A year later, in 1988, she had another child, whom she gave up for adoption. She married Sanchez when she was 19. The couple had many problems: Sanchez was ordered to attend anger management classes, and Lisa was prescribed Prozac for panic attacks. After several separations, they divorced in 1996.

Angel Diaz, whom Lisa met in Dallas at her job, was a godsend. Stable, well-educated, kind, he worked in quality control management. "He was just like the type of person that I had imagined for myself," Lisa says. They married in 1997, two days before Briana was born; Kamryn followed in 2000. After Briana's birth, Lisa became a stay-at-home mom. Though Lisa admits that she sometimes yelled at her children, she says she couldn't bring herself to spank them. She'd endured too much of that as a child.

They seemed a happy couple. But like many blended families, the Diazes had arguments about disciplining 16-year-old Misty and Angel's 9-year-old son from a previous relationship. But what upset Lisa most was when Angel called her a hypochondriac.

Dr. Crowder spends hours quizzing Lisa about her many physical ailments. They began, Lisa says, with a flu shot in January 2002.

"Driving home, I got a horrible, horrible headache...one of the worst headaches I've ever had," Lisa says. "I kept telling everybody that it was [after] that flu shot that I started having all these symptoms...And then the other thing that happened was, I started to feel...like kind of scared, paranoid."

Lisa recounts a litany of complaints: stiff joints, headaches, pain in her kidneys, numbness, intense thirst, chills, sinusitis, fatigue, sore throats, weight loss and insomnia. Some of her symptoms were bizarre: She'd lie down to go to sleep and feel the backs of her eyes "shaking."

A few of the ailments could be readily identified: carpal tunnel syndrome and an injured ankle that resulted in surgery after Briana was born. But after the flu shot, Lisa visited multiple physicians--including an endocrinologist, rheumatologist, gynecologist, dermatologist, neurologist and orthopedist--to find out what was wrong with her. They ran blood tests and MRIs but could find no physiological cause of her pain.

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19 comments
dyhernandez86
dyhernandez86

Ahhh and the people pleading insanity... you should die not b set free!!!! People NEVER follow through with completing thier treatments!

dyhernandez86
dyhernandez86

My heart goes out to the kids!!!! I don't understand why we continue to let these sick people back in this world. If you mess up once for murder or drugs or any horrific crime you should be put to death. Our world be a better place without physhcos. We r wasting our time and money on people that will never change. Why sentenced them to llife when they ruin lives we r better off executing them n b done with it. Think of all the kids that would b still here today if it weren't for these pedophiles/ sex offenders, bad parenting, people who blame drugs for their crime( to scared to take on full responsibility for their actions), murderers, drug cartels/ wars, prostitution, etc. WHEN WILL THIS STOP? WHEN WE ALL KILL EACH OTHER????

kavitag
kavitag

imagine being called schizo for trying to wash off the wool from over your pathetic eyes, guest.

kavitag
kavitag

i guess you must be from pune, india and are in the habit of protecting perverted doctors, huh - guest coward? you know real schizophrenics can kill, dismember and still plead insanity - hehehe - look over your shoulder the next time you make a comment like that to someone who may be really insane - hehehe

kavita gunaji
kavita gunaji

I have a feeling that this woman Lisa got caught between the mexican and chinese drug cartel. She was made to think she was crazy and she was drugged often. They can use twitter and remote technology such as a Wifi hot spot to create a boundary layer around you and have you fitted with a hearing device that may not appear to an ENT looking down your ear (see-through technology - no visible wiring) or even use your whole body or part of it as the receiver - transmitter. others will not hear what you hear and you will be made to be the crazy one. continuous drug ingestion without the person actually knowing they are on drugs can cause homicidal results. the fact that the 'bastard' doctor rubbed her in an inappropriate fashion shows that sometimes perverts are used to make a person feel uncomfortable and then if you tell someone they say you are lying and have a habit of telling lies to get attention. believe you me, i was a victim of such advances and cruel treatment. there was only one doctor who kept apologizing by seeing my level of discomfort when he touched me during my pap exam. he kept explaining what he was doing and i think he was a good doctor. there have been others who were not so nice.

kavita gunaji
kavita gunaji

This is in relation to the murders by Andrea Yates: Although I do believe people suffer from mental illness and that this was a low statistic in our population more than two decades ago, there is the likelihood that this statistic is now on the rise because of signal technology, online (internet), ease of insertion of online materials such as a minute silicon chip into the human body where it can be manipulated with ease by anyone who can dial in. This is with the advent of cell phone technology, high speed microprocessors and the sort. In other words, it is easy for any person to insert minute chips into another person and send them messages. The victim may or may not hear these messages depending on what frequency they are sent on. Is it just not possible that Andrea Yates fears and paranoia may have stemmed from such messages, in addition to brain washing (hypnotizing) drugs induced into her system and the fact that she was over-worked and underfed that could have induced her trance that day? Now, all that remains to be proved is the existence of someone with a motive - someone who was jealous of her supermom capabilities - possibly a jealous rival from her high school - with who she might have shared a boyfriend - or another possibility - someone who her husband was seeing at that time or had seen some time before the murders took place. Every person is responsible for their actions - however, the combination of drugs (brain altering) in addition to low glucose levels and the possibility of an internet online chip in her body could drive anyone to behave like a walkie-talkie and be manipulated or controlled into forced actions that the person who feels spaced out while committing these actions, may not be able to control.

guest
guest

For kavita gunaji--two words: paranoid schizophrenia. You need help; there's medication for what you have.

kavitag
kavitag

oh go make like a whitney houston and od on your cocaine

kavitag
kavitag

but then again i graduated from iit bombay in 1985. you probably do not know anything about technology and as long as there are people like you around, some of us will get away with a lot more than we have already gotten away with - hehehe - do some investigating and you will regret that you messed with me.

kavitag
kavitag

microchip technology was being developed in the decade before windows came out.

kavitag
kavitag

i have schizos in the family i was married to and they see snakes when others don't; you dont know what you are messing with - i think you should forget about a personal life now, huh, guest

kavitag
kavitag

use your real name coward - i know your mom probably fed you through her clitty instead of her titty.

kavita gunaji
kavita gunaji

Although I do believe people suffer from mental illness and that this was a low statistic in our population more than two decades ago, there is the likelihood that this statistic is now on the rise because of signal technology, online (internet), ease of insertion of online materials such as a minute silicon chip into the human body where it can be manipulated with ease by anyone who can dial in. This is with the advent of cell phone technology, high speed microprocessors and the sort. In other words, it is easy for any person to insert minute chips into another person and send them messages. The victim may or may not hear these messages depending on what frequency they are sent on. Is it just not possible that Andrea Yates fears and paranoia may have stemmed from such messages, in addition to brain washing (hypnotizing) drugs induced into her system and the fact that she was over-worked and underfed that could have induced her trance that day? Now, all that remains to be proved is the existence of someone with a motive - someone who was jealous of her supermom capabilities - possibly a jealous rival from her high school - with who she might have shared a boyfriend - or another possibility - someone who her husband was seeing at that time or had seen some time before the murders took place. Every person is responsible for their actions - however, the combination of drugs (brain altering) in addition to low glucose levels and the possibility of an internet online chip in her body could drive anyone to behave like a walkie-talkie and be manipulated or controlled into forced actions that the person who feels spaced out while committing these actions, may not be able to control.

Star
Star

I have never really been able to understand the insanityplea..arn't most cold blooded killers crazy what makesany of them any different from each other..why even havea jail if most of these evil people will get away withit by reason of insanity just another cop out like evenDahmer him self said about people that use that line..I am sure people like him would know.. and what is it with people in Texas getting away with stuff like that..I thought they were the tough state on crime maybe not..

John T.Patterson
John T.Patterson

I Too Beleive It's All Total Horseshit!!!Yes,I Understand That Some Women Can Suffer From Post Partum Depression Very Badly!!However,I Come From A Big Family And With The Exception Of A Cousin Whose Wife Left Him and His Two Sons In The Early 70's Who Wound Up Leaving My Folks To raise Them,No One In My Family Ever did Such A Thing!!And That Includes My Departed Mother;Sister;Sisters In Law;Aunts and a Stepneice!!And While I've Never Been A Father;I've Been An Uncle;Great Uncle;Stepfather and Stepgrandfather and While Maybe I Mighta Got A Little Mad at Them At Times;I've Never Thought Of Killing Any Of Them;Nor Have Their Parents!!And While Wer'e At It,We Also Need To Prosecute These"Mental Health Experts"Who Declare Them To Be"Legally Insane"At Their Hearings!!Also,Another Factor In Some Of The Women who Murdered Their Kids Is That In Some Cases,They Belonged To Some Kind Of Fundavengelical Church Led By Some Kind Of Self Styled"Preacher"Who's No More A Minister Than David KoreshWho Convinces Them Their Problems Are Caused By"Demonic Possession"!!!We Need To Prosecute Them as Well!!!My One Hope Is That When These Poor Little children Made Their Way To Heaven,God Let My Mother;Grandmothers and Aunts Take Care Of Them!!Lord Knows They didn't Get Any Care On Earth!!

Misty
Misty

It's hurtful to read stuff like this, especially when you happen to be the daughter of the woman this article is about.

Ashleyt4587
Ashleyt4587

Misty - did you know anything about the daughter she gave up for adoption in 1987?

Heather Boyles
Heather Boyles

I think it's total BULLSHIT that a jury can prove someone innocent of KILLING their kids. I don't care how " depressed" you are they is no excuse not even insanity for drowning your kids, beating them with stones, cutting their arms off or even hanging them. And people who think that depression is the reason then I guess they don't have children themselves. Almost every mother out here is depressed at one time or another. So I say put them away for life in a room with pictures of their kids painted on the walls or kill them.

 
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