Google is a powerful tool that allows us to learn damn near anything about damn near anyone. We can find out where someone works, comb through their social media activity and in some instances, uncover personal information that could completely ruin their lives. And if you google the name “Anna Young,” prepare to be appalled at what you find.
The first thing you’ll likely uncover is that Young, now 79 years old, has recently been convicted of murdering two children decades ago in the ’80s. She pleaded no contest to charges of second-degree homicide and manslaughter in the deaths of Emon Harper and Katonya Jackson—both toddlers.
After you take a minute to catch your breath and regain your bearings, you’ll learn that the Micanopy, Fla., native was also a cult leader in a past life. Her cult, The House of Prayer for All People, offered an opportunity for outcasts to find redemption; it promised safety and compassion to those who had committed unspeakable wrongdoings—along with free room and board. But it also allowed Mother Anna, as she was often called, complete control over dozens of lives. And as is often said: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Young’s home became a house of horrors, as her perverted interpretation of the Pentecostal faith allowed her to strip her followers of their birth names in favor of biblical ones, adorn them in robes and ankle-length dresses and allegedly torture and abuse them for their “sins.” This disturbing behavior stayed buried for decades until in 2016, Young’s daughter, Joy Fluker, called the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office to turn in her own mother.
This brings us to UCP Audio’s new true crime podcast, The Followers: House of Prayer, which explores the subsequent year-long investigation into the cult’s activities, the disappearance of a child and criminal charges for murder. Hosted by journalist Leila Day and former prosecutor and investigative journalist Beth Karas, this six-episode rollercoaster promises to take listeners on a ride they’ll never forget.
You can check out the trailer here and listen to full episodes now on your podcast platform of choice.