After nearly 50 years on the lam, authorities believe they are closing in on convicted murderer and prison escapee Lester Eubanks, who was recently featured on Netflix’s “Unsolved Mysteries.”
The escaped convict, now 77, is believed to be in the Los Angeles area, according to the U.S. Marshals Service, which recently reviewed photographs of Eubanks working and socializing.
“We believe that he may have never left the Greater Los Angeles area,” Deputy U.S. Marshal David Siler said on Saturday, according to NBC Los Angeles. “We know that he has a footprint there, we know that he has associates throughout the area, we just need to talk to those people.”
TheWrap attempted to reach the U.S. Marshals on Wednesday, but our calls were not immediately returned.
Eubanks, who is on the Marshals Service’s list of its 15 most wanted fugitives, is wanted by the Ohio Adult Parole Authority for escape. In December 1973, Eubanks walked away from the custody of the Ohio Department of Corrections while on a temporary honor furlough to go Christmas shopping unescorted, according to he U.S. Marshals. That was a reward for good behavior. At the time of his escape, Eubanks was serving a life sentence for the November 1965 murder and attempted rape of 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener, whom he bludgeoned to death.
Eubanks had previously been sentenced with the death penalty, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole in 1972. The Eubanks story was chronicled in Episode 9, “Death Row Fugitive.”
“While the Eubanks’ case is designated as a cold case, I want to assure the public our investigation into his whereabouts is very active,” U.S. Marshals Service Deputy Director David Anderson said in a press release back in 2018, on the 45th anniversary of Eubanks’ escape. “I have total confidence in our deputies and our law enforcement partners who are determined to make sure Eubanks’ last days are spent in a prison cell where justice intended it.”
“I think about this case every day and the little girl who was killed,” Siler said at the time. “In law enforcement, there are cases that keep you up at night; this is one of those cases.”
Netflix revived “Unsolved Mysteries” in 2020, which was technically the show’s 15th season.
The USMS established the 15 Most Wanted Fugitive Program in 1983 to prioritize investigation & apprehension of some of the country’s most dangerous fugitives. Rewards up to $25,000 are offered for information leading to arrests. Submit a tip. https://t.co/G9Ve0bpFv2. pic.twitter.com/BJG0jeEUpz
— U.S. Marshals (@USMarshalsHQ) February 25, 2021