Calgary Sun

Thursday, November 11, 1999

Killer mom detained

Considered a threat to public

By PETER SMITH, CALGARY SUN

CRANBROOK, B.C. -- Killer mom Diana Yano, who drowned her two children, was ordered detained in custody to protect the public yesterday.

But Yano, 37, who was found not criminally responsible for drowning her children Brittany, 5, and Joshua, 3, in June this year because of her mental disorder, could be released at any time.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Tom Melnick, in ordering Yano detained in the forensic psychiatric unit in Port Coquitlam, B.C., added nine conditions.

One is Yano should be allowed out of the unit for up to 28 days at a time and be allowed to travel to Alberta -- at the discretion of the unit's director.

Another condition is Yano be allowed unsupervised releases from the unit --also at the discretion of the director.

Melnick's verdict Tuesday that Yano was not guilty of second-degree murder in the deaths of Brittany and Joshua at the Mountainside Vacation Villas in Fairmont Hot Springs, came after psychiatrists said she'd suffered years of depression and mental disorder.

Melnick found she killed her children when overtaken by an overwhelming compulsive delusion they must go to heaven to be saved from her.

"The greatest need here is to protect the public," said Melnick. "I come to the conclusion it is clear from the evidence and reports that Yano does still constitute a significant danger to the public."

Melnick said if Yano slipped into another depression, failed to take her medication or became suicidal, there would be risk of harm to the public or her family again. He said continuing treatment would benefit Yano.

"I'm confident if she stays on medication she will be a candidate for reintegration into society on the word of the director of the facility," he said, conceding, "She has a long way to go."

After the hearing, Crown prosecutor Grant Sheard said Yano's future is now in the hands of professional mental authorities.

Her care will be reviewed by a psychiatric review board within 90 days and again within another 12 months.

Melnick paved the way for Yano to be transferred to a psychiatric facility in Alberta to be nearer to her family, if the unit director in Port Coquitlam authorized it.

Yano's husband Craig and many family members were in court to support Diana. They left without comment.

Copyright© 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.