COBB COUNTY, GA — Former cult members have lifted the lid on the horrific abuse they suffered at the hands of their 75-year-old leader, Anna Elizabeth Young, who has been charged with murdering a toddler in the 1980s.
Young was arrested in December and charged in the death of Emon Harper, who died at the House of Prayer for All People in Micanopy, Florida.
Young ran her cult and religious boarding school from around 1985 until the early ’90s — and some former members have alleged that there are more victims out there. Several survivors described to the Atlanta Journal Constitution how Young — who was known as “Mother Anna” — had tortured them.
John Neal, 40, said that Young was responsible for the death of his sister Katonya Neal. Neal said that when his sister died of a seizure at age two, Young beat her and refused to get her the medicine she needed. “She tortured my little sister, treated her like an animal,” he told the AJC. “She had more power than God out there.” Neal told the AJC that he was also beaten often for minor infractions.
In 1992, Young allegedly decided to bathe a 12-year-old girl in a tub full of chemicals to “burn the evil out of her.” She reportedly filled a metal tub with hot water, bleach, laundry detergent, and bubble bath and then had cult members hold her down. The young victim ended up in a burn ward with open wounds covering her body, and her parents reported Young to the police for child abuse. But Young escaped justice by relocating to Florida, and the cult disbanded.
She was a captured eight years later and, in 2001, she was convicted and sentenced to just over six months in jail. After she was released, she moved to Marietta, Georgia, and reportedly led a quiet life as a nurse, caring for the elderly.
Young was arrested again in December 2017 after her daughter Joy Fluker told police that she knew that a toddler named named Emon Harper, also known as “Moses,” had died after being starved and beaten by her mother. Witnesses inside the cult reported that Harper’s body had allegedly been burned. The remains have never been found.
“It started out as something good,” Fluker told the AJC. “They would minister to people. People would come there, people trying to get over drugs, alcohol. And sometimes, they would bring their children.”
Since the arrest, several more former members have come forward, telling local authorities that they were tortured and abused in the “cult atmosphere.” Fluker believes that her mother is mentally ill and needs help. “She does love God, I believe. But she has a sick mind,” Fluker said. “My mom does have mental illness. If people had spoken up a long time ago, those lives could have been spared.”
The AJC also reported that an FBI agent has asked Young questions related to the disappearance of her six-year-old stepdaughter in the 1970s — which she has so far refused to answer.
Young has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Harper’s death. She has pleaded not guilty.
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Main photo: Anna Elizabeth Young [Cobb County Sheriff’s Office]