Anna Elizabeth Young, who been indicted on a single count of first-degree murder, allegedly ran a “religious boarding school” called the House of Prayer for All People

By Chris Harris
December 04, 2017 03:35 PM

A 75-year-old woman who police allege was the leader of a religious cult in Florida has been charged with murder in Georgia in the death of a toddler more than 25 years ago, PEOPLE confirms.

According to a press release from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, a cold case investigation led to charges against the woman, Anna Elizabeth Young, described in the release as a “cult leader.”

According to Art Forgey, spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, the victim, Emon Harper, was 2 or 3 years-old at the time of the killing, which happened in either 1988 or 1989.

“He died as a result of cruel punishment and repeated beatings,” Forgey tells PEOPLE.

Young, according to cops, was known as “Mother Anna” to her followers and allegedly ran a “religious boarding school” called the House of Prayer for All People.

Police say Young was married in Georgia under the last named Anderson. Authorities are not sure how long she has lived in Marietta, Georgia.

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff’s Office

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Young has been indicted on a single count of first-degree murder.

According to Forgey, police started investigating Young after receiving an email, documenting years of alleged abuse she carried out against children.

“We think there are more victims,” Forgey says. “Detectives were able to put together a timeline and information on her as they developed this case and they have developed stuff back to 1968.”

In fact, Forgey says that investigators believe she may be connected to the death of a young girl in Michigan in 1973. She is also being eyed in another case out in Puerto Rico, where authorities are reviewing a number of missing children cases.

“We think there are additional victims that we may not know about,” says Forgey. “Obviously, a lot of these cases are very old, so we are hoping people start seeing this stuff being reported in the media and that it may bring people forward.”

Young was convicted of child abuse in 2001 after authorities said she bathed a 12-year-old girl in chemicals, severely burning the child’s body.

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Young has not entered a plea to the current charge. She did waive extradition Monday, and will be returned to Alachua County in Florida as soon as possible.

“This all started with an email with a lot of this documented, that talked about the things that had been going on, and a lot of it was hard to believe,” Forgey says. “But detectives started digging into the substance of the email, and it snowballed, and they realized a lot of it was factual.”

Young has not hired a lawyer who could comment on her behalf.

She is being held without bond.