'Not going to live in the shadows': How the daughter of a cult leader is helping others

Joy Fluker turned in her mother for the murders of two children. Now, she's helping others who are considering reporting loved ones for crimes.

First Coast News, Florida/May 14, 2024

By Tobie Nell Perkins

Alachua County, Flroida — Some of Joy Fluker’s mother’s crimes happened before she was even born. Others she lived through.

In 2016, she turned in her mother, Anna Young, for the murders of Emon Harper and Katonya Jackson. She also believes Young killed her step-sister, Catherine “Cathy” Davidson, whom she never met. Cathy’s body was never recovered, but her mother was able to learn what likely happened to her after Young’s crimes were exposed.

Fluker lived through a cult called the House of Prayer, based in Alachua County, which was helmed by her mother. Young believed in purging sins through punishment, with many cult members suffering abuse and horrific injury. One woman was forced to leave her son on a park bench at Young’s command.

READ MORE: What really happened inside the House of Prayer cult in Alachua County

Young was convicted in 2021. She then died 42 days into her prison sentence. The end of the House of Prayer came years ago, but for Fluker, the story is still going. It’s just that it’s her story now.

Fluker still appears on true crime TV shows to talk about her mother’s crimes. She often talks about the duality between the mother she knew and loved and the horrific crimes she committed. She recently appeared on “Evil Lives Here,” in an episode that released at the end of March.

Fluker’s mission isn’t to profit off her history. She says she doesn’t get paid for TV experiences, she just wants others to know that she survived reporting her mother. That way, others who are considering reporting a loved one might make the same choice.

Preventing pain

This is Fluker’s mission now. She founded a charity called Prevent the Pain in 2021, with the goal of helping people like her who are considering turning in a loved one. “When I was going through speaking up against my mom, I was just desperate to try to find someone, some organization or somewhere I can meet other individuals who have been through what I’m going through – the turmoil, the burden of loving someone, caring about them, knowing this other amazing, beautiful side of them, but also knowing the horrors of the crimes they committed,” she told First Coast News.

Her organization provides that. For those finding themselves in Fluker’s shoes, Prevent the Pain provides support where it’s needed. This could be paying for counseling or helping with housing or a temporary safe place to stay. Anyone who fits the criteria for assistance from Prevent the Pain can be connected with them through a counselor or law enforcement agency – a referral is required. Fluker encourages anyone who may need help to request a referral.

She wants prospective recipients to know Prevent the Pain will “do all we can” to support those who need their help. “Do whatever you need to do to get the strength to go ahead and make that report,” and they will help you along the way if they can.

“There are others who need to hear your story as well, so they can be convinced to go ahead and speak out,” she says. It’s an example she wants to set, too – she hopes people will think, “Joy can do it, or others can do it, I can do it, too. It doesn’t make me a bad person to speak up.”

'We're not going to live in the shadows'

It’s the kind of support she says could have changed the trajectory of her life.

“If people had spoken up about my mom when the first situation happened,” she says, referring to the disappearance of Cathy Davidson, “she could be maybe a successful individual, and maybe she couldn’t have committed all of those other crimes, and all that blood wouldn’t be on others' hands of knowing her capabilities and not speaking up.”

She also believes this mission will help solve cold cases and could even stop crimes from happening in the first place. “When more people realize we’re not going to live in the shadows and keep all these horrid secrets that are causing pain to others, the more people are not going to be willing to do (crime),” she says.

If you are considering reporting a loved one for a crime, you can get a referral from a licensed professional and they can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There is more information on https://preventhepain.org/, as well as a link to donate.

So, what’s life like for Fluker now? Much the same – except now she’s free of the weight of her mother’s actions.

'I know now that I'm strong enough'

“I felt like I was so fragmented before, because there was so many secrets and lies and things I was trying to bury myself in, a burden, it was like this dark cloud constantly over my head day to day, it was like, no matter what, I felt like I had a dark cloud on me. And I feel like that cloud is no longer there,” she said. “Memories start coming back to me, I accept them. I don’t try to just push them aside anymore, and live in that fear. I know now that I’m strong enough to live through those memories, and still be able to be productive in my life and hopefully be a blessing to someone else.”

Through Prevent the Pain, Fluker feels she’s found a purpose to what happened to her. “I feel like after all this pain and agony, Prevent the Pain, and speaking up is a way of serving others,” she says. “I don’t want people to think, 'Oh, it was just an easy road,' but it is a road, it can have a light at the end of it. There is a road where you can turn it into something good, and something positive.

To anyone who is considering speaking out, she wants to say this: “You still can thrive, you can still survive, you still can get past it in a way where it doesn’t hold you back from being successful.”

Even as Fluker moves on, she plans to keep telling her story and keep helping people. “I feel like even though it does bring up painful memories, the enlightenment and the knowledge of what happened can hopefully help someone else to prevent it from happening in their lives or continue happening in their lives, and it won’t turn into something as horrible as the House of Prayer.”

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