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Missouri man accused of killing family was mentally ill

AVA, Mo. | Relatives of a man charged with killing his wife and baby at their home in southwest Missouri said he had a history of mental illness and they tried to get him help just weeks before the stabbings.

Dan Allen Andrews, 30, of Ava, was charged Monday in Douglas County Circuit Court with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action for allegedly stabbing to death his wife, 24-year-old Mary Burchell, and 9-month old son, Taylor Andrews. Their bodies were found in the family's home earlier in the day.

A blood-covered sword and pocket knife were found at the scene, according to the probable cause statement. Relatives say Burchell was pregnant.

The man's father, Starlin Andrews, said his son was evaluated by mental health professionals in West Plains last month and released, despite the protests of his family.

"My son needed help — serious medical and mental help," Starlin Andrews said.

He said his son hasn't been the same since a car crash years ago. Starlin Andrews said he thinks brain damage from the accident may be the reason behind his son's paranoia, delusions and schizophrenic behavior.

Dan Andrews talked about aliens from outer space and voices in his head, family members said. He claimed his infant son was the second coming of Christ and he was the anti-Christ.

Starlin Andrews said his son voluntarily committed himself to the Mid Missouri Mental Health Center in Jefferson City two years ago.

The stay was only temporary. Last month, relatives checked him into a West Plains hospital for evaluation after finding Taylor nearly dead from hypothermia after being left in his father's care.

On Feb. 21, the child was found wearing only a diaper in bitterly cold temperatures, Starlin Andrews said.

"I knew if my son did not get the medical attention he needed, something bad would happen and he might kill people," he said.

The family reportedly took him to the hospital Feb. 22. To their dismay, Dan Andrews was released four days later, his father said. Starlin Andrews said the hospital did not explain why.

Hospitals, law enforcement officers and private citizens can request a person be held against their will for up to 96 hours if that person appears to be a threat to themselves or others.

But longer-term commitments must be requested by a mental health professional and approved by a judge.

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