Child Killer Missing for More Than 40 Years
Finds a Spot
on U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted List
marks 45th anniversary of escape; reward of up to
- More than 40 years ago, one of the most notorious prisoner escapes in Ohio
history occurred. A convicted child murderer, serving a life sentence, just
walked away from his handlers and justice. On Dec. 7, 1973, prison officials
took Lester Eubanks to a shopping center in
Columbus, Ohio, and allowed him to shop unescorted as a reward for good
behavior. When Eubanks failed to return to his scheduled pick up location, he
was reported as an escapee, and has eluded authorities ever since.
The U.S. Marshals are looking to end Eubanks’ 40-plus years on the
lam by adding him to their 15 Most Wanted fugitive list.
“While the Eubanks’ case is designated as a cold case, I want to
assure the public our investigation into his whereabouts is very
active,” said U.S. Marshals Service Deputy Director David Anderson.
“I have total confidence in our deputies and our law enforcement
partners who are determine to make sure Eubanks’ last days are spent
in a prison cell where justice intended it.”
On Nov. 14, 1965, Eubanks shot and bludgeoned to death Mary Ellen
Deener in what law enforcement alleged was an attempted rape.
Authorities quickly identified Eubanks as the offender. He was
arrested the next day and charged with first-degree murder while
perpetrating rape. On May 25, 1966, a jury found Eubanks guilty of
the crimes and sentenced him to death. In 1972, Eubanks’ death
sentence was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of
“The U.S. Marshals are not deterred by the passage of time when it
comes to cases like this one,” said U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott of
the Northern District of Ohio. “We are fueled by one thing, and that
is justice for 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener of Mansfield, Ohio, the
innocent victim in this case.”
“I think about this case every day and the little girl who was
killed,” said Deputy U.S. Marshal David Siler, who has worked the
case since January 2016 when it was adopted by the Northern Ohio
Violent Fugitive Task Force cold case unit. “In law enforcement,
there are cases that keep you up at night; this is one of those
The Marshals believe Eubanks is alive and living under an alias.
Over the years, investigative leads placed the long-time fugitive in
Michigan and California, but his whereabouts remain a mystery.
“Lester Eubanks has had a lot of time on the lam,” said Siler.
“Fugitives on the run as long as Eubanks tend to use that time to
change their appearance, use aliases, and even start new lives. He
literally could be hiding in plain sight. This is why we are asking
citizens to be vigilant and contact us with any information they
believe will help us apprehend him.”
Eubanks, 75, is a 5-foot-11 black male with black hair and brown
eyes. At the time of his disappearance, he weighed approximately 175
pounds. Other unique physical characteristics include a mole under
his left eye. He may be using the alias Victor Young to
hide his true identity. In 2017, the U.S. Marshals released an
age-progression photo (above) of Eubanks.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the nearest
USMS District Office, the
U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102,
or submit a tip using USMS Tips.
Poster for Lester Eubanks
Updated News Release
Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at
America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency