Ex-'cult leader' arrested on Florida child murder charge, deputies say

By: Ben Brasch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Updated:

A woman who police have identified as a “former cult leader” who tortured a child with chemicals before moving to Cobb County has been arrested for the murder of another child.

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Anna Elizabeth Young was arrested at a home on Bridgestone Drive in Marietta on Thursday, according to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

Before coming to Cobb, Young ran a religious boarding school in Alachua County in north Florida, police said.

It isn't immediately clear when she moved to Georgia, but police said she'd gotten married and was living under the last name "Anderson."

She bathed a 12-year-old girl with chemicals, severely burning the girl’s body, Cobb deputies said. She fled and was captured eight years later in the attic of a relative’s house in Illinois before serving prison time.

“The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office developed new information recently during an investigation and were able to substantiate that Young had not only tortured children,” police said, but had allegedly killed a child.

Alachua County court records show that on Nov. 29 she was indicted on a first-degree murder charge, which in Florida means there is a suspicion of premeditation.

According to the newspaper in that area, the Gainesville Sun, Young is thought to have killed Emon Harper, who was around age 2 or 3.

And authorities fear that isn’t all.

“We think there are many, many more. We can document other states and other missing children that we believe are tied into this,” Alachua sheriff’s office spokesman Art Forgey told the newspaper.

He said forensic investigators have been collecting evidence from the site of the boarding home, known as House of Prayer for All People.

“They ran a religious institution -- exorcising demons and other things like that. We have documentation involving her clear back to the ’60s. We did extensive forensic examination on the property this summer. We are still analyzing the evidence that we gathered,” Forgey told the Sun.

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