A 79-year-old former Marietta resident and cult leader was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to the murder of a toddler in the 1980s, according to a news release from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office.
Anna Elizabeth Young, who was known as “Mother Anna,” also pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges in the 1984 death of a second child.
Young had previously served time for felony child abuse for bathing a 12-year-old girl in a tub with bleach and then tying the girl to bedposts so she could not touch the open sores on her body. After being released, Young, whose cult operated in Florida, lived in Marietta for at least 15 years.
In 2017, Young was arrested at her home on Bridgestone Drive by U.S. Marshals, with assistance from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, and charged with murder. Young had married and was living under the last name Anderson.
Young was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to the late 1980s murder of toddler Emon Harper, per the news release. Prosecutors accused Young of killing Harper by confining him to a closet without food or water.
Harper, who Young reportedly called “Moses,” was given by his mother to a family friend in Chicago because she thought she was unfit to care for the child. According to prosecutors, the family friend brought Harper to Young’s cult, the House of Prayer for All People, in Micanopy, Florida, just south of Gainesville.
Young was accused of beating, starving and confining Harper to a closet multiple times.
“On one occasion, cult members noticed that Emon never returned and later found the toddler unresponsive in a thin straw hamper inside Young’s closet,” the release reads.
As part of the negotiation with prosecutors, Young also pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 1984 death of a second child, Katonya Jackson. Per the release, Young was responsible for Jackson and failed to provide her with necessary medication.
Young and her husband Robert Davidson started the cult in 1983, per the release. Based on strict adherence to the Old Testament, cult members wore full-length robes and adhered to a “Levitical” diet. At its peak, the cult had 24 members living on the compound.
After being placed on a wanted list for the abuse of the 12-year-old, Young reportedly fled Florida, briefly staying in Georgia, Ohio and Chicago. She was captured in an Alton, Illinois, attic and served six months for that charge.
After being released she settled in Marietta. The murder and manslaughter charges arose when Young’s daughter began disclosing details of the cult and her mother’s actions. Other cult members corroborated information given by Young’s daughter. Young was indicted by a Florida grand jury in 2017 and arrested in Marietta the next day.