Police arrested a 75-year-old former cult leader, who allegedly tortured children for years, for the murder of a child in her religious boarding school.
Police arrested Anna Elizabeth Young, aka “Mother Anna,” in Marietta, Ga., last week after multiple witnesses who once lived at Young’s Florida boarding school, The House of Prayer for All People, came forward with stories of abuse, torture, and even murder, according to The Washington Post. Police charged Young with pre-meditated first-degree murder of a child in the case of Emon Harper, a young boy who died at age 2 or 3 from torture and starvation in the 1980s.
“We think there are many, many more. We can document other states and other missing children that we believe are tied into this,” Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Art Forgey told The Gainesville Sun. “They ran a religious institution — exorcising demons and other things like that. We have documentation involving her clear back the ’60s. We did extensive forensic examination on the property this summer. We are still analyzing the evidence that we gathered.”
Young’s arrest comes as the culmination of a year-long investigation into allegations of child abuse and murder at Young’s hands, but it is only the latest charge in her history of child abuse. Police charged Young with felony child abuse in 1992 for bathing a 12 year old girl in chemicals, giving the child severe burns, according to a press release from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. Young fled the state and remained a fugitive for eight years until authorities found her living the attic of a relative’s house in Illinois. Young pleaded no contest to the charge and served six months in jail in 2001.
Young later moved to Marietta, Ga., and remarried under the surname Anderson, but police arrested her Nov. 30 after developing new information they claim substantiated stories of murder from witnesses who once lived at the boarding house.
“Witnesses came forward from the House of Prayer alleging brutality and even some children being murdered,” Forgey told ABC20. “It’s not just one isolated incident of beatings. There were numerous children that were beaten, locked in solitary confinement, food-withheld.”
Young opened the boarding school in Micanopy, Fla., with her late husband Jonah Young in 1983. The boarding school operated for almost a decade, during which children were subjected to exorcisms, chemical baths, starvation, beatings, and other horrific practices, police claim. Police described Young as a former cult leader and said that her abusive practices were religious in nature.
Young is currently in Cobb county police custody and has yet to be extradited to Florida.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg that we know of,” Forgey told ABC20. “The arrest is in no means going to close this case, because there is so much more and so many more potential victims and witnesses.”
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