Decades-old allegations of child abuse and murder have finally caught up with a suspected former “cult leader.” Anna Elizabeth Young, 75, has been arrested and charged with a murder that authorities are calling the tip of the iceberg.
Young and her husband, Jonah Young, ran a religious boarding house called The House of Prayer for All People near Gainesville, Florida in the ’80s and early ’90s. “Mother Anna” was the head of this boarding house and police claim she abused the children in her care—some were beaten, some were denied food, and some were caged.
Few details of the murder case have been released, but a report says Young’s first-degree murder charge stems from the death of Emon Harper in the late ’80s. The boy was two or three when he was killed, according to authorities.
This is not the first time Young has been charged with a crime involving a child. In 1992, Young was charged with felony child abuse for bathing a 12-year-old girl with chemicals, leaving her severely burned. Young fled the state and was eventually captured eight years later. She pleaded no contest and was sentenced to six months in prison.
In the past year, former residents of The House of Prayer for All People, who are now middle aged, have come forward with stories of abuse and torture. Police believe Anna Elizabeth Young’s history of abuse in Florida and elsewhere may date back to the 1960s.
It’s unclear what role Jonah Young may have played in these alleged crimes. He was crushed to death when his car slipped off a jack in 1988.
As of this writing, Anna Elizabeth Young has not entered a plea and no lawyer for her has been identified. Her extradition to Florida is pending after her arrest last week in Georgia.