Emon Harper Murder: What Happened to Anna Young?

Emon Harper, a young child residing within the House of Prayer, an organization claiming to be a Catholic Church and alleged to be a cult, passed away under questionable circumstances in the late 1980s. Initially, no concerns were raised regarding her death. However, in 2017, a former member of the group brought attention to her death and raised inquiries about the activities within the organization. The investigation into his death and the resulting arrests are extensively depicted in ‘Evil Lives Here: Murder in The House of Prayer.’

Emon Harper Died From Starvation

Located on Wacahoota Road in Florida, the House of Prayer, situated in Alachua County, was founded in the 1980s by Anna Young and her husband, Jonah. Over time, the group attracted over two dozen members, offering assurances of financial stability and equal treatment among all followers. It also operated as a religious boarding house for young children from underprivileged backgrounds. Anna, often referred to as “Mother Anna,” assumed a matriarchal role within the organization, overseeing its affairs and guiding its members.

In the late 1980s, around 1988 or 1989, Emon Harper, a toddler aged 2 or 3, was residing within the House of Prayer organization after his parents handed him over to the organization. During this time, he suddenly disappeared from the premises. It is reported that he had been kept in a closet and deprived of food and died as a result of malnutrition.

Sharon Pough, another resident of the organization, alleged that she witnessed the toddler’s body placed in a straw clothing basket. Pough noted the presence of a water bug on the child’s forehead, indicating prolonged decomposition, and observed swelling in the toddler’s chest. Some other members of the organization claimed that Harper’s body had been burned. However, his body has never been found.

The Killer’s Daughter Reported the Murder of Emon Harper

The case remained off the authorities’ radar for an extended period until 2017. Anna Young’s daughter, Joy Fluker, brought attention to her mother’s actions. Fluker initially contacted authorities to report her mother’s attempts to exert control over Fluker’s children. During this conversation, she also disclosed information about the death of Emon Harper in the late 1980s. Fluker revealed that she was troubled by the events she witnessed at the House of Prayer, particularly the mistreatment of many children within the organization, which weighed heavily on her conscience.

Fluker described witnessing a pattern of mistreatment and alarming practices orchestrated by her mother. According to her, Young wielded absolute authority over all members of the organization and frequently employed physical violence to assert control. Fluker recounted instances where individuals, including children, were confined to a trucking trailer or a barn without access to food and water, a fate that Harper had also endured, which led to his demise.

After Fluker’s testimony, Young was charged not only with the murder of Harper but also with the murder of another individual, Katonya Jackson, in 1983. Jackson, who suffered from epilepsy, was reportedly denied medication and proper treatment during a seizure. It was further alleged that she was restrained and subjected to physical abuse and starvation. Testimony from Jackson’s brother, John Neal, corroborated these accounts, revealing that his sister was treated inhumanely and that he was subjected to severe beatings for minor infractions, such as taking a piece of candy.

After the initial allegation, numerous other members of the organization came forward to corroborate the claims of Harper’s murder and the mistreatment of other children. They provided detailed accounts of the group’s operations, which involved dressing in Old Testament clothing and adopting Biblical names prefixed with “Brother” and “Sister.” These members asserted that Young governed the organization according to her interpretations of the Bible, which included administering harsh punishments to men, women, and children alike.

Anna Young is No Longer Alive Today

Anna Young had a prior history of facing allegations and charges of child abuse. In 2001, she was convicted of one count of child abuse stemming from an incident in 1992. According to court records, Young bathed a 12-year-old girl named Nikki Nickelson in a mixture of detergent and bleach water because she claimed the child had an odor. This resulted in severe burns to the lower part of the child’s body, and instead of seeking proper medical treatment, Young treated the burns with herbal creams. Following the incident, she ran away from the country and was only caught in 2001.

As a result of her conviction, Young was sentenced to six months and 12 days in jail. In 2021, she entered a plea of no contest to the charges of second-degree murder and negligent manslaughter in connection with the deaths of Emon Harper and Katonya Jackson, respectively. It was asserted that she had confined Harper to a closet and deprived the toddler of food, leading to her death.

Young received a 30-year sentence for the second-degree murder charge related to Harper’s case and a 15-year sentence for the other case, both of which were to be served concurrently. At 79 years old, she served only 42 days in prison. As her health deteriorated, she required oxygen support in an intensive care unit (ICU). Anna Young passed away on March 31, 2021, while being held at the Florida Women’s Reception Center in northern Marion County, Florida.

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