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US Marshals search for fugitive who has eluded police for decades after escaping prison

Posted at 10:54 PM, Feb 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 11:53:29-05

Authorities are still hunting a convicted rapist and murderer more than 40 years after he vanished from an Ohio mall.

It is a crime that grabbed front page headlines in Mansfield, Ohio in November 1965.

14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener was with her sister at the Half Hour Laundromat washing clothes. The girls ran out of change and Mary Ellen left alone in search of some coins.

“Her life was taken by a monster, “ said Deputy US Marshal David Siler.

Lester Eubanks was out on bond for an attempted rape at the time. He watched the teenager walk out of the laundromat, he took her behind a vacant house and raped her.

“She wouldn’t be quiet, he took out a revolver, shot her and left her for dead. He came back a little time later, used a brick to hit her in the head,” said Siler.

Mary Ellen Deener died. A handful of dimes and nickels were found beside her body.

“He owned the crime, he gave a confession to the Mansfield Police Department, “ explained Siler.

Eubanks was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. He was scheduled to be executed but receive multiple stays of execution. In 1972, Ohio abolished the death penalty and he was moved to a general population, said Eubanks.

But what happened on December 7, 1973, is shocking and set off a mystery that remains unsolved nearly 44 years later. Eubanks, a convicted child rapist and murderer, was allowed out of prison to go Christmas shopping. Eubanks and three other prisoners were dropped off at a Columbus mall and he vanished, setting off a decade’s long, nationwide manhunt.

Siler wasn’t alive when the crime happened. But he is on a mission to find Eubanks.

“He’s number one on our list,” Siler said.

“This is one of those cases I can’t walk away from, this is one of those case I think about every day,” said Siler.

US Marshals believe Eubanks is alive, living under an alias, eluding police. Eubanks was featured on America’s Most Wanted twice in the 1990’s. Hundreds of tips came in but none led to the capture of the elusive Eubanks.

At the Mansfield Police Department, the notorious case is still open. “In a matter of 40 years, the case has always got new interest when a new commander comes in. It’s looked at to make sure the rocks are overturned,” Assistant Chief Keith Porch said.

Eubanks has a big scar on his right arm. There is a $15,000 reward for information about his whereabouts. Call 1-866-4WANTED (1-866-492-6833)