Leader of 'Cult-Like' Boarding School Is Arrested in Late 1980s Cold Case Death of Toddler

Cult-like leader arrested
(Cobb County Ga. Sheriff's Office)(Cobb County Sheriff's Office)

Anna E. Young once ran a religious boarding school in Florida.

A Florida woman who once led a religious boarding school described by local authorities as "cult-like" has been arrested in the death of a young boy in the 1980s.

Anna Elizabeth Young was arrested near Atlanta Friday, according to Alachua County Sheriff’s spokesman Art Forgey.

Now 75, Young is charged with torturing and withholding food from Emon Harper, who was 2 or 3 years old at the time, leading to his death.

Young operated the House of Prayer for All People near Gainesville from about 1985 to 1995, according to authorities.

WCBJ reports that some children who "Mother Anna" once had in her charge came forward as adults to describe the alleged abuse to authorities.

Young was convicted in 2001 of one prior abuse after she bathed a child in a tub full of chemicals.

Now, after a year-long investigation involving the Alachua County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Unit and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Young is facing new charges, and investigators say more may follow.

"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," Forgey said.

He added: "Witnesses came forward from the House of Prayer alleging brutality and even some children being murdered."

Young was arrested Thursday night and is facing a charge of premeditated first degree homicide-murder of a child, for which she was indicted by a grand jury this week.

It is not clear whether she has an attorney.