Former Florida cult leader arrested on charges of abusing and murdering a toddler in the 1980s – ABC News
A 75-year-old former Florida cult leader has been arrested in Georgia on charges of abusing and murdering a toddler, and authorities said an unfolding investigation reveals that many more children were abused under her care.
Anna Elizabeth Young was arrested in Cobb County near Atlanta Thursday after the investigators in Central Florida determined through a year-long investigation that she allegedly murdered a toddler between ages 2 and 3 between 1988 and 1989 while operating the House of Prayer in Micannopy, Florida, Art Forgey, public information officer for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC News.
Young allegedly killed the toddler, Emon Harper, by withholding food and by “willfully torturing” and “maliciously punishing” him, causing him “great bodily harm” and “permanent disability” or disfigurement, Florida State Attorney Bill Cervone said in a press release, citing an investigation into the child’s abuse and death from March 1988 through June 1992.
The investigation into Harper’s death began about a year ago when a relative of Young’s who witnessed violence and deaths take occur at the House of Prayer as a child came forward to police to detail what she witnessed, Forgey said. The witness’ account opened up a “Pandora’s box” for investigators as they looked into Young’s past and continued to find more witnesses and cooperating evidence, Forgey said.
Now, authorities believe that Young has been abusing children since the 1960s across several states.
Authorities believe that Young began abusing children as early as 1968, when a minor may have died “as a result of her treatment,” Forgey said.
She is also believed to be connected to a 6-year-old who went missing in Michigan 1973. Young is even listed on the original missing person report and is now believed to have buried him before reporting him missing, Forgey said. She was never considered a suspect until the investigation into