A convicted child killer simply walked away from prison officials in Ohio more than 45 years ago — and the US Marshals Service believes he’s “hiding in plain sight” in Michigan or California.
Authorities believe Lester Eubanks is now 75 years old and may be living under an alias of Victor Young after walking away from a shopping center in Columbus, Ohio, where he was allowed to go Christmas shopping by handlers from the state’s Department of Corrections without an escort as a reward for good behavior on Dec. 7, 1973.
Eight years earlier, Eubanks was found guilty of shooting and bludgeoning 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener in what authorities said was an attempted rape. He was later sentenced to death by a jury before that punishment was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 1972.
“The US Marshals are not deterred by the passage of time when it comes to cases like this one,” US Marshal Peter Elliott of the Northern District of Ohio said in a release on the 45th anniversary of Eubanks’ escape. “We are fueled by one thing, and this is justice for 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener, of Mansfield, Ohio, the innocent victim in this case.”
Deputy US Marshal David Siler said the details of the killing are particularly disturbing.
“I think about this case every day and the little girl who was killed,” Siler said in a statement. “In law enforcement, there are cases that keep you up at night; this is one of those cases.”
Fugitives who evade authorities for such long periods of time typically change their appearances, adopt aliases and construct new lives altogether, Siler said.
“He literally could be hiding in plain sight,” Siler said. “This is why we are asking citizens to be vigilant and contact us with any information they believe will help us apprehend him.”
Eubanks has been on the run from authorities since failing to return to his scheduled pickup location in December 1973. He weighed roughly 175 pounds at the time of his disappearance and has a mole beneath his left eye, authorities said. He’s also known to use the aliases Pete Eubanks and Lester William Eubanks, according to his wanted poster.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the US Marshals Service at (800) 336-0102. A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information leading to Eubanks’ arrest.
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