A Florida woman who once ran a religious boarding school is accused of murdering multiple children over several decades. The 75-year-old woman is being described by police as a "cult leader".

Authorities said that following a year-long investigation, Anna Elizabeth Young has been indicted for murder. Witnesses and victims of the 75-year-old have come forward with accounts of abuse.

"I think the extent of how long this took place," said Art Forgey, Alachua County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer. "You know, going clear back to the 60s is the most shocking thing here."

Forgey said that the year-long investigation revealed evidence of Young being responsible for the torturous abuse and death of several children. "Witnesses came forward from the House of Prayer alleging brutality and even some children being murdered," he said.

Young was indicted by a grand jury for the unlawful death of Emon Harper, known as Moses, who was related to Young. Authorities believe she may be responsible for more crimes.

"It's not just one isolated incident of beatings," Forgey said. "There were numerous children that were beaten, locked in solitary confinement, food-withheld."

According to WCJB, Young was charged with felony child abuse in 1992. She fled Florida but was captured eight years later. She was sentenced in 2001 to six months and 12 days in jail for bathing a 12-year-old girl in a steel tub with chemicals, which caused severe chemical burns.

A number of people came forward in the last year claiming Young tortured, punished, caged and starved children at the House of Prayer. "The arrest is in no means going to close this case, because there is so much more and so many more potential victims and witnesses," Forgey said.

Young was arrested Thursday (30 November) in Georgia and her extradition to Florida is pending. She faces a charge of premeditated first-degree homicide-murder of a child.