Yuba County mom found not guilty in drowning of young sons. Here’s what the judge ordered

A Linda mother accused of drowning her two young sons in a bathtub is being sent to a state hospital after she was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

According to court documents, Courtney Roxanne Williams, 26, was arrested on charges including two counts of first-degree murder on April 7. On July 20, Williams pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

“The court at that time appointed two doctors to thoroughly evaluate Williams’s sanity; the defense and prosecution each chose one of the doctors,’” Yuba County District Attorney Clint Curry said in a statement, as reported by The Appeal Democrat. “Citing in part Williams’s battle with postpartum depression and psychosis, both doctors separately concluded that Williams was insane at the time she killed her children.”

Curry said a placement report from Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health recommended Williams be sent to the hospital..

A Yuba County judge signed the commitment order Wednesday, according to court documents. The California Department of State Hospitals oversees locations in Atascadero, Coalinga, Norwalk, Napa and Patton and has headquarters in Sacramento.

At the time of the incident, Williams’ husband had returned home from work around noon when Williams allegedly told him she had hurt their sons, 5-month-old Holden and 2½-year-old Ronin, according to previous Bee reporting.

Her husband searched the home in the 6100 block of Sunshine Avenue, discovered the boys unresponsive in a bathtub full of water and called 911.

Yuba County sheriff’s deputies arrived and began performing CPR. The children were pronounced dead at the scene.

Curry said once her “sanity has been restored,” Williams can apply for a release from the hospital. A court would then have to find that Williams was not a danger to the health and safety of others, due to a mental defect, disease or any disorder, The Appeal Democrat reported.

“It’s clear Courtney Williams was suffering from serious mental health issues and didn’t receive the help she so desperately needed, and it’s heartbreaking that her children had to pay the ultimate price,” Curry said.

About 1 in 8 women with a recent live birth experience symptoms of postpartum depression, according to the CDC.

Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to depression but can include:

  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby

  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby

  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting your ability to care for the baby

“Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms,” Curry said. “For immediate help, or if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, dial 911.”

For resources related to postpartum depression, talk to a health care provider, visit the Postpartum Support International website at www.postpartum.net or text “help” to or call 800-944-4773.