Lester Eubanks: Murder convict still at large after escaping 47 years ago, but leads pour in after Netflix show
Lester Eubanks, a 22-year-old man from Ohio, was sentenced to death in 1966 after he violently assaulted and murdered 14-year-old girl Mary Ellen Deener. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison and that is when he began building a good relationship with the prison guards in his Ohio jail. Considering his good behavior, Eubanks was placed in a program that allowed him to go Christmas shopping unattanded along with other prisoners in a mall. Nearly 47 years have passed since then but Eubanks never returned and is still at large.
However, fresh hopes of his capture have reignited ever since the second season of the popular Netflix series 'Unsolved Mysteries Volume Two' featured his case. Ever since the episode titled “Death Row Fugitive” aired, multiple viewers have called in with leads on where Eubanks, who would be 76 today, might be and detectives look positive that he may be finally apprehended.
Eubanks, in 1965, brutally raped and murdered Deneer who was walking to get more change from her local laundromat in Mansfield, Ohio. The suspect at the time had a lengthy record of offenses and hence was sentenced to death after he confessed to killing Deneer. Soon his death sentence was changed to life sentence after the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Prison guards believe that Eubanks succeeded in escaping with the help of his visitors. Just days before his prison break, Eubank had an increase in visitors, and authorities suspect they may have assisted him in fleeing from the mall.
The Netflix episode covers Eubank's escape route from Michigan to Los Angeles, where he reportedly stayed with a girlfriend for a while under the name of Victor Young. He later moved to Alabama. He continued moving cities and states as investigators caught up with him. Investigators state that they received credible tips about him from several states including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, California, and Ohio, however, the leads gradually stopped coming in and the trail has reportedly been cold since 2003.
Although Eubanks was added to the U.S. Marshal's list of most-wanted criminals in 2018, there was little attention paid to the fugitive. However, the Netflix show, which released on October 19, may be a gamechanger in the case. US Marshal Service's Brian Fitzgibbon, in a recent statement, said that they have already begun receiving several tips from people filling in the holes. “He's alive. I feel we're getting closer,” he told USA Today. “We're looking for any information to his life on the run or the history of his life on the run.”
Unsolved Mysteries producer Terry Dunn Meurer also commented on Eubanks case, saying she believes that out of the six episodes this season, Eubanks' case is the most solvable. “Somebody knows where he is or maybe he passed away, but somebody knows that,” she told Esquire.
Meanwhile, Deener's sister, Myrtle Carter, told TMZ that she hopes the Netflix episode on her sister's killer leads to his arrest so that her family can finally have some closure. The US Marshal Service has also doubled the reward for information leading to Eubanks' capture from $25,000 to $50,000.