Volume 2 of ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ brings us six baffling cases that have shaken the world to its core. Using re-enactments and interviews to detail the circumstances surrounding mysteries that are, well, unsolved, it covers everything from crimes, to paranormal activities, to tales of lost people, all the while encouraging views to provide any information that might help solve the case. This especially comes into play when the situation is that of a criminal on the run, as is showcased in ‘Death Row Fugitive’ with Lester Eubanks – a murderer who managed to slip away from the authorities while Christmas shopping.
Who Is Lester Eubanks?
Lester Edward Eubanks was just 22-years-old when he killed the 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener in Mansfield, Ohio, and was subsequently caught. Before that, though, he had been arrested a couple of times for sexual offenses. In fact, standing at near 6 feet tall and weighing around 180 pounds, at the time of the murder, this sexual predator was out on a hefty bond in connection to an unrelated attempted rape charge. For his crimes, in 1966, Lester was sentenced to death at the Ohio State Penitentiary.
Everyone who knew him described him as weird or a loner. On the Ohio streets, he used to walk around with numb chucks in his hands, swinging them around wherever he went, and in prison, he mostly painted. But even though he kept to himself, the inmates knew of his opinionated and cocky nature, so they stayed away. And because he confessed to the murder, more than once, he is also somebody who can be categorized as narcissistic.
In the years that followed Lester Eubanks’ conviction, his execution was pushed back thrice for reasons unknown. Then, with the 1972 abolishment of the death penalty, his sentence was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Lester shifted to be with the general population, where he made use of his smooth-talking ways to win over the guards and enter into the honor program that allowed inmates to venture out into the real world to prepare for their future. And that’s how he escaped.
On December 7, 1973, Lester, with his good behavior and many prison awards for painting, was allowed to go Christmas shopping with three other inmates. Two guards dropped them off at the Great Southern Shopping Center in Columbus at 10 a.m., told them that they could shop unsupervised for four hours, and gave them instructions about where they were to return afterward. By the time 2 p.m. rolled around, though, Lester was long gone.
Has Lester Eubanks Been Found?
Unfortunately, no. When Lester didn’t show up at the assigned place at the given time, the officers searched the area, finding no trace of him anywhere. Following that, a local warrant against him was issued, which was upgraded to a national one when the FBI got involved a short while later. The extensive manhunt that ensued for the criminal who was allowed to go out in public in civilian clothes, regrettably, led to no leads about his whereabouts.
In fact, the authorities couldn’t even figure out how Lester had managed to escape so quickly. All they knew was that it had to be pre-planned. Official prison records show that Lester’s visitation skyrocketed in the weeks prior to his escape – from once a month, it went on to be once a week. The investigators on the case followed that up by questioning everybody who came to see him, from his family to his associates, but none of them gave up any information. It was only 20 years after Lester escaped, in December of 1993, that a lead was finally attained.
A captain searched the national database to check if Lester had committed an offense somewhere else, and the information had somehow not been forwarded, but what he found was even more shocking. Lester’s warrant had been removed from the records, either because of a clerical error or the lack of follow-up attempts. Not wanting to let it pass by, though, the captain managed to get Lester’s face on ‘America’s Most Wanted,’ which resulted in a tip coming in from a Los Angeles woman. She claimed that she used to run with Lester and that he used to reside in the city with someone named Kay Banks.
Kay, the widow of Lester’s cousin and his previous pen-pal, turned out to be crucial in the investigations that followed. She told the detectives that Lester did live with her up until a few years ago, but because he was a bully, she scared him off by implying that people were looking for him in the city. Kay was worried that she’d be charged for harboring a fugitive, so she revealed everything that she knew, starting from the very beginning. After fleeing Ohio, Lester went to Michigan for a few weeks because he wanted to see the extent of the search against him.
Then, realizing that it was somewhat safe, he got somebody to pay for his bus ticket to California. The bus that he was on was stopped by law enforcement officials on the interstate lines, and Lester did think that his freedom was over, but he got lucky yet again. These officers were only looking to see if illegal substances were being trafficked, and so, Lester became a fugitive, showing up at Kay’s door with a bag in hand.
She said that he assumed the name of Victor Young and got a hunting license, which didn’t require fingerprints, as his ID proof. The last she knew, she admitted, Lester was in Gardena, working in a mattress manufacturing factory as Victor. Upon looking into it, it turned out that Lester was there, but only until the mid-80s.
Where Is Lester Eubanks Now?
According to the professionals, Lester Edward Eubanks can be anywhere in America right now – from Texas, Washington, Florida to Alabama. But, the one thing that they’re sure about is that his family and his associates know exactly where he is and that they are helping him in keeping his real identity a secret. After all, in the summer of 2003, they did try to question his father, Mose, who refused to talk about Lester but said that sometimes people could change and move on with their lives.
That same year, an informant helped the police in figuring out that Lester was in Alabama shortly before that, in a center for troubled people, and working as a house painter. Unfortunately, though, that’s the last information that anyone has on him. For about several years now, no new leads about Lester have come to light, but the U.S. Marshal Service is not giving up.
Currently, they have Lester Eubanks on their 15 Most Wanted list and are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for any information about his whereabouts. They are also trying to gain his biological son’s DNA in an attempt to compare it against samples collected from unsolved crime scenes across America in the hopes that it will yield a match and offer hints about Lester’s new identity or location. They want the child killer captured, and they won’t stop until they succeed.
Read More: Where Is Kay Banks Now?