Former members of a Florida cult whose elderly leader now stands charged with murdering a toddler in the 1980s have spoken out about the horrific abuse they suffered at her hands.
Anna Elizabeth Young, 75, was arrested in December and charged over the death of Emon Harper, who died at the House of Prayer for All People in Micanopy, Florida, which she ran from about 1985 until the early Nineties.
Several survivors, including Young’s own daughter, have spoken to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about their experience growing up in the cult – and accuse Young of being involved in more than one death on the compound.
John Neal, 40, whose mother had joined the House of Prayer, claims Young – known to cult members as ‘Mother Anna’ – is responsible for the death of his sister.
Katonya Neal was two years old when she died of a seizure, and Mr Neal claims Mother Anna beat the toddler, and refused to get the child medication.
‘She tortured my little sister, treated her like an animal,’ he told the AJC, adding that Mother Anna ‘had more power than God’.
Mr Neal himself still bears the scars from the violent beatings he received at the hands of Mother Anna.
He told the AJC he would be beaten in front of his own mother for such minor delinquencies as being falsely accused of taking a piece of candy.