In 2001, Anna Elizabeth Young was sentenced serve six and a half months in prison after she was arrested for forcing a 12-year-old child to bathe in a steel tub full of chemicals. The chemicals resulted in severe burns covering that child’s body. Though the incident occurred back in 1992, Young went on the run and was found eight years later hiding at a relative’s home in Indiana. Authorities now say that those charges are just the tip of the iceberg in a series of incidents spanning decades and resulted in the murder of at least one child in Young’s care.
From as far back as the 1960s Young had been the matriarch of a cult-like religious organization calling themselves the House of Prayer for All People. The group focused on exorcising demons and faith healing, among other things. In 1983, Young opened a boarding school under the same name in Micanopy, Florida.
For nearly a decade children were sent to the school where they were routinely abused and tortured. In the case of Emon Harper, who was between the ages of 2 and 3-years-old at the time, was locked in a cage and regularly withheld food, with Young “willfully torturing” the child, causing him “great bodily harm” and “permanent disfigurement.” The child would die in Young’s care.
This information was only learned by law enforcement after former students at the school, now in their 50s, and relatives of Young’s came forward to tell their stories on what they witnessed during their time at the House of Prayer. All of the former students had similar stories involving severe abuse, regularly being withheld food, and forced into chemical baths.
Authorities say these testimonies opened up a “Pandora’s box” and are working on connecting her to several more incidents, including a 6-year-old Michigan boy who vanished in 1973. ABC News indicates that Young was listed on the original missing persons report and is believed to have buried the boy’s body before investigators could link her to the child’s death.
ABC News also states that police are also looking to connect Young to several incidents that occurred in Puerto Rico before Young established her boarding school in Florida.
After serving out her prison sentence, Young was married and relocated to Cobb County, Georgia where she and her husband practiced a ministry out of their home. Young has been arrested for the murder of Emon Harper and her extradition back to Florida is pending. Other charges are also pending as investigators continue to unravel Young’s tangled web.