Former Florida cult leader accused of torturing, killing child

Anna Elizabeth Young considered a fugitive from justice, officials say

Anna Elizabeth Young

COBB COUNTY, Ga. – A former cult leader in Florida who previously served time for felony child abuse is now accused in the premeditated first-degree homicide of a child, authorities in Georgia said Friday.

An outstanding murder warrant was secured against Anna Elizabeth Young, who was last known to have moved to Georgia, officials with the Cobb County Sheriff's Office said.

After conducting surveillance, investigators found Young at her home in Marietta, living under the last name of Anderson, and they took her into custody on Thursday, authorities said.

At one time, years ago, Young lived in Alachua County and she ran a “religious boarding school,” according to a statement from investigators.

Young, also known as “Mother Anna,” was charged with child abuse for bathing a 12-year-old girl in a steel tub with chemicals, which caused severe chemical burns to the child.

Young ran away from Florida and was found eight years later in an attic at a relative’s house in Illinois. Young was then extradited back to the state, where she was convicted and she served time, officials said.

Fast forward to January of this year: The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office developed new information, and officials were able to substantiate that Young had not only tortured children, but had committed premeditated first-degree homicide. She killed a child, authorities said.

The information from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office pertained to a series of child abuse cases and death investigations from March 1988 through June 1992.

A cold case unit, along with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, took on the lengthy investigation. They found Young had “purposefully (withheld) food, willfully (tortured), maliciously (punished), willfully and unlawfully (caged), and/or knowingly or willfully (committed) child abuse -- and in so doing, causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to Emon, or Moses, Harper. (Young had), by premeditated design, effected the death of Emon Harper,” according to a grand jury report.

It was the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force that was requested to find and arrest Young on the murder warrant.

Despite going by her married name, officials caught up with Young and took her into custody without any issues. She was booked at the Cobb County Jail and a fugitive from justice warrant was secured for the Florida charges.

Young is now awaiting extradition back to Florida.

She’s being held without the option to post bond. Her indictment on the first-degree murder charge was handed down Wednesday.

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