After 47 Years, Marshals on Trail of Escaped Child Killer

Lester Eubanks has been on the run since 1973
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2020 8:08 AM CDT
Tips Flood In About Escaped Killer From Unsolved Mysteries
A depiction of what Lester Eubanks could look like today.   (US Marshals Service)

Federal authorities believe they're closing in on a convicted child killer who's been on the run for 47 years. Lester Eubanks—whose story features in an episode of Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries—was convicted in May 1966 of the rape and murder of 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener of Mansfield, Ohio, who'd been searching for change for a laundromat when she disappeared on Nov. 14, 1965. Eubanks grabbed Mary Ellen from a sidewalk, dragged her behind a house, raped her, and shot her twice, though, per the Mansfield News Journal, she didn't immediately die. Later, he would return to the scene to fatally smash Mary Ellen in the head with a brick. He received a death sentence that was commuted to life in prison in 1972, per USA Today.

But he escaped from custody the following year while Christmas shopping unescorted in Columbus—a reward for good behavior, per Fox News. Luckily, "I feel we're getting closer," Brian Fitzgibbon of the US Marshals Service told USA Today on Monday, noting tips are flooding in. Previous tips suggested Eubanks might be in Michigan and California. Fitzgibbon said "there's nothing putting him in a place … We're looking for any information to his life on the run or the history of his life on the run." Eubanks was described as 5'11" and 175 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes in 1973. Now 76, his story features in the "Death Row Fugitives" episode of Unsolved Mysteries, which began airing Tuesday. (More escaped criminal stories.)

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