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Attorney General: Cult leader sentenced to 30 years for 1980s murder of toddler

"She will most likely die in prison and never again be able to harm, torture, or kill another human being," Ashley Moody wrote.
Credit: CBS News

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A 79-year-old who pleaded guilty to killing a toddler in the 1980s has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for her crimes, according to Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office.

Prosecutors say cult leader Anna Young confined the toddler in a closet, without food or water, until he was later found dead by other members of the cult.

“It is unfathomable to comprehend the horrors that this woman has caused. Thankfully, at 79-years-old, she will most likely die in prison and never again be able to harm, torture, or kill another human being. I am grateful for the hard work from my Statewide Prosecutors in securing a strong prison sentence for this downright vile criminal." Moody wrote.

According to a press release, Young was initially arrested for Emon Harper's murder in 2017. That was roughly three decades after the crime.

Harper's mom gave the child to a family friend in Chicago, but that friend eventually brought him to the House of Prayer for All People, which prosecutors described as a religious cult based in Micanopy.

There, investigators say Young, who called him Moses, beat and starved the toddler, who was ultimately found dead in a thin straw hamper in Young's closet.

Young left the cult in 1992 and spent the next nine years on the run after being placed on a wanted list for bathing a 12-year-old in bleach and tying them to bedposts so that they could not reach open sores on their body, according to an arrest report. 

Authorities later found Young in an attic in Illinois. She served six months in jail on a child abuse charge. The attorney general's office reports Young was living in Georgia when allegations of her killing Harper arose.

"Young’s daughter disclosed her mother’s conduct and other cult members corroborated the daughter’s story," it wrote in a press release.

Young pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the death of the toddler. Part of her plea negotiation meant Young also pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a second child who prosecutors say she failed to provide with necessary medication.

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