Nothing is more heinous than crimes against a child. 75 year-old Anna Elizabeth Young looks like an innocent grandmother, her "deer caught in the headlights" stare almost makes you feel sorry for her. . . until you find out what she's been accused of.
Young has been charged with premeditated, first degree, murder of a child according to documents obtained out of Micanopy, Florida. The child, a little boy named Emon Harper, who, some say, was between two and three years old at the time of his death in the late 1980s was left in her care as part of a religious cult "The House of Prayer for All People".
The Washington Post reports:
"The House of Prayer for All People opened in 1983 in Micanopy, a town just south of Gainesville. For nearly 10 years, children arrived at the religious boarding school and into the care of “Mother Anna” — Anna Elizabeth Young. There, according to Alachua County authorities, they were tortured and abused in a religious cult atmosphere that included exorcism and chemical baths."
"Witnesses came forward from the House of Prayer alleging brutality and even some children being murdered,” Art Forgey, a spokesman with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office told ABC 20 last week. “It’s not just one isolated incident of beatings. There were numerous children that were beaten, locked in solitary confinement, food-withheld.”
House of Prayer for All People in the 700 block of Southeast 138th Avenue off Wacahoota Road, near Micanopy from about 1985 to 1995.
“We think there are many, many more. We can document other states and other missing children that we believe are tied into this,” Forgey told the Sun. “They ran a religious institution — exorcising demons and other things like that. We have documentation involving her clear back the ’60s. We did extensive forensic examination on the property this summer. We are still analyzing the evidence that we gathered.”
These crimes are not the first in Young's criminal history. There were rumors of child abuse and neglect that followed her no matter where she moved. Young was accused of giving a young girl a chemical bath in a steel tub, which caused severe burns to the child's body. Before sentencing, Young fled the state and lived behind closed doors until she was arrested in 2001 and eventually spent six months in jail.
"In the last year, children who stayed with Young at the House of Prayer, now in their 40s and 50s, have approached authorities with stories of torture, punishment, caging, and starvation. Those allegations led to the charges in the Harper death.“It’s going to be a really complex case and there is a lot of sensitivity with the victims, who are all adults now,” Darry Lloyd, the spokesman for the Florida Eighth Circuit State Attorney, told the Sun. “Their recall is very good because they’ve been through it.”
Let's hope that those who suffered at the hands of this woman will finally get some closure and justice.