Fla. ‘cult leader’ accused of killing child lived in Cobb for years

Public records and police officials from Cobb County to Florida indicate a suspected child killer and “former cult leader” lived in Marietta more than a decade.

Investigators believe Anna Elizabeth Young, 75, killed 3-year-old Emon Harper while running a religious boarding school in north Florida’s Alachua County between 1988 and 1992.

Her methods of killing Harper included starvation, torture, caging and disfigurement, said Darry Lloyd, spokesman for that area’s district attorney’s office.

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Young was arrested on Thursday at her Bridgestone Drive home on a first-degree murder charge, which in Florida means there is a suspicion of pre-meditation.

Cobb tax records show that Young — who’d married and was living under the last name “Anderson” — started paying taxes on the house in 2003.

She is listed as the owner in Cobb property records.

A 2016 photo of the home from the tax assessor’s office shows a 1,276-square-foot split level with signs above the garage that say “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “Every day is a blessing.”

Spokesmen for the sheriff’s offices in Georgia and Florida both confirmed that there’s no indication of any illegal activity by Young in Cobb.

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In 1992, Young bathed a 12-year-old girl with chemicals, severely burning the girl’s body, according to police. She fled and was captured eight years later in the attic of a relative’s house in Illinois before serving for that crime.

Lloyd said the FBI is involved “because she crossed state lines, the activities crossed state lines.”

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show she was sentenced in May 2001 for that crime and was imprisoned about six and a half months.

“You don’t want to believe some of the stuff you’re hearing,” said Lloyd, a native to that area of north Florida” ... especially in your backyard.”

Police have been been searching the site of the old boarding home, House of Prayer for All People, for forensic evidence since receiving information in January that got police again investigating Harper’s death, he said.

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Six people — some law enforcement officials and some who lived through the boarding school — spoke at Young’s indictment on Wednesday, Lloyd said.

They were children when they were at the boarding school, but some of these witnesses are in their 40s and 50s, he said before adding that the investigation stretches back to 1968.

The Alachua sheriff's office told The Gainesville Sun there may be more victims tied to this case.

Lloyd said he wouldn't put a number to the amount of victims.

“We want to deal with the case in the court of law, not the court of public opinion … so we can have an appropriate venue to lay out all the evidence against Ms. Young,” he said.

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