Former cult leader sentenced to 30 years for killing two toddlers

Anna Elizabeth Young, who went by Mother Anna, pled no contest in the deaths of two victims both under age 3.

Anna Elizabeth Young, who went by Mother Anna as the leader of the religious cult The House of Prayer for All People, was sentenced in the deaths of two toddlers.

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According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Young pled no contest to a charge of second-degree murder for killing Emon Harper, and also pled no contest to manslaughter for the deadly seizure of 2-year-old Katonya Jackson.

Harper was between the ages two and three at the time of his death and was allegedly locked in a closet, and starved after his mother gave him to the cult. Jackson suffered a fatal seizure after her medicine was withheld.

Now 80-years-old, Young was arrested in 2017 for the crimes at hand. She was taken into custody after a tip from her daughter Joy Fluker who testified during the court proceedings. During an argument between mother and child, Fluker yelled “How can you tell me how to raise my children when you killed two children?” and went to the police based off of Young’s reaction to the accusation.

Anna Elizabeth Young
Image via Alachua County jail

Both Fluker and her brother John Neal have traumatic memories from the cult and the deaths of Katonya, and the boy who was called Moses.

“Moses only lived a few short years, but he taught me life is too big to be swept under a rug, imprisoned in a home, or buried in the ground,” Fluker said to the judge according to AJC.

“We still love and miss her to this day,” Neal said of Katonya according to the news outlet. “She was a human being. She was good. She was loved. She would have been 30 years old this year.”

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According to Jacksonville, The House of Prayer for All People opened in 1983 in Micanopy, FL and ran for almost 10 years as a religious boarding school. Children were tortured and abused with things such as exorcisms and chemical baths in a cult-like fashion according to Alachua County authorities. At the time of the report in 2017, law enforcement believed there were many more deaths Mother Anna held responsibility for.

Anna Elizabeth Young
(Credit: Cobb County’s Sheriff’s Office)

“We think there are many, many more. We can document other states and other missing children that we believe are tied into this,” said Art Forgey, a spokesman with the Alachua County Sheriffs according to the news outlet. “They ran a religious institution – exorcising demons and other things like that. We have documentation involving her clear back the ’60s. We did extensive forensic examination on the property this summer. We are still analyzing the evidence that we gathered.”

In 1992, Young was charged with child abuse for allegedly bathing a 12-year-old girl in bleach, which resulted in the fall-out of the cult. After fleeing and being on the run for eight years,  she pleaded no contest and was sentenced to six months in prison 2001.

True crime network Oxygen reported a podcast produced by Universal Content Productions Audio, “The Followers: House of Prayer” will debut on March 3, to unpack the events surrounding the deadly cult. Hosted by Leila Day and reported by investigative journalist and former prosecutor Beth Karas, the broadcast will feature interviews with Fluker, investigators, and former cult members.

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