Anna Elizabeth Young, 75, was arrested near Atlanta Friday, Alachua County Sheriff’s spokesman Art Forgey said. The woman — also known as “Mother Anna,” the matriarch of a religious boarding school in Florida — was charged with felony child abuse back in 1992. Young operated the House of Prayer for All People in the 700 block of Southeast 138th Avenue off Wacahoota Road (near Micanopy) from about 1985 to 1995.
Young was finally indicted for the unlawful death of Emon Harper, also known as Moses, a toddler who was tortured, denied food, and murdered in the 1980s. The boy was around 2 or 3 years old at the time. She was also convicted in 2001 of child abuse for bathing a 12-year-old in chemicals and severely burning the girl’s body. Authorities say there’s much more to the story and they suspect there are more victims.
Art Forgey, Alachua County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer, said the investigation of Emon’s death began when new information was presented to the sheriff’s office. Cold case investigator Kevin Allen began exploring the new leads and uncovered more evidence, ultimately resulting in the indictment.
"I think the extent of how long this took place," Forgey said. "You know, going clear back to the 60s is the most shocking thing here." Detailed investigation revealed that Anna Elizabeth Young is responsible for the torturous abuse and death of multiple children. “Witnesses came forward from the House of Prayer alleging brutality and even some children being murdered,” Forgey said.
Officials say witnesses and victims of Mother Ana’s abuse came forward with horrific memories. Young may have abused children in Alachua County and in other states, Forgey said. Maybe she's been hiding an even darker past, officials have reason to believe that “it’s not just one isolated incident of beatings,” Forgey said. “There were numerous children that were beaten, locked in solitary confinement, food-withheld.”
“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.
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