Woman Who Ran Cult in 1980s Pleads Guilty to Murdering Toddler by Locking Him in Closet

Anna Elizabeth Young, 79, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison

Emon Harper
Photo: Alachua County Sheriff's Office

A former cult leader has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the deaths of two children in the 1980s, including a toddler who she allegedly locked in a closet.

Anna Elizabeth Young, 79, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Emon "Moss" Harper. Emon was between ages 2 and 3when his mother gave him to the "House of Prayer for All People" cult in Micanopy, Florida. He died around 1988 after he was locked in a closet and deprived of food and water.

Emon's remains have never been found, but members of the cult told authorities that he died from abuse and a lack of nutrition, and that Young allegedly ordered his body to be burned in a barrel.

Young was also accused of manslaughter in the 1983 death of Katonya Jackson, who died after being denied medication for seizures that may have been caused by physical abuse, WCJB reports.

Anna Elizabeth Young
Cobb County

According to First Coast News, Young was arrested in 2016 after her daughter, Joy Fluker, turned her in to authorities. She was initially charged with an unrelated count of felony child abuse for allegedly causing severe burns after bathing a 12-year-old girl in a steel tub with chemicals, the Cobb County Sheriff's Office in Georgia announced at the time.

Fluker told the court that she decided to report her mother after being haunted for decades by what she saw at the House of Prayer, including the final moments of Emon's short life.

Young, who was known as "Mother Anna," led the House of Prayer in the 1980s. At its peak, the group had approximately 25 members. She also ran what authorities called a "religious boarding school." According to the Charley Project, Young allegedly forced members to give up their life savings. She also allegedly starved, beat and tortured her followers for their "sins,"

On Wednesday, Young pleaded no contest to both the murder and manslaughter charges, WCJB reported. All other charges have been dropped.

Young was sentenced to 30 years in prison for Emon's murder and 15 years in the manslaughter death of Katonya. The sentences will run concurrently,

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