Investigators Put Out Call to Find Fugitive Who Escaped While Christmas Shopping
One of the most notorious fugitives of all time didn’t escape in some Cool Hand Luke-esque scheme: he walked away while Christmas shopping. Almost 46 years after Lester Eubanks’ not-so-daring escape, ABC News’ Senior Investigative Reporter Matthew Mosk and the U.S. Marshals have teamed up for a new ABC podcast during which they hope to track down the criminal: Have You Seen This Man?
Hosted by Sunny Hostin of The View, the podcast premieres on October 23rd and will include six episodes that delve into Eubanks’ crime and escape.
The Mansfield, Ohio, man was sentenced to death for the November 1965 murder and attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl, Mary Ellen Deener. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional and his sentence was commuted to life without parole. He managed to wriggle free from living out his days behind bars when, due to good behavior, he was allowed to go Christmas shopping at a local Columbus, Ohio, mall on December 7th, 1973. He failed to meet up with the guards at the appointed time, and has been on the run ever since.
“[All we need is] that one tipster, that one person that can bring in the last piece of the puzzle, even if they knew him a year ago, two years ago,” Deputy U.S. Marshal David Siler told Rolling Stone in a previous interview. “That’s what we’re looking for. Someone who’s like, ‘I know that guy.’”
As such, Eubanks was added to the U.S. Marshals Most Wanted List in December 2018, on the 45th anniversary of his escape.
In a release, the podcast promises “exclusive interviews with key players who knew both Eubanks and his victim; never-before-heard details of his prison escape and the controversial program that led to that escape; and interviews with people who encountered Eubanks — using various aliases — since he’s been on the run.”
In a previous interview with Rolling Stone, former LAPD detective Tim Conner recalled hunting for Eubanks in California, where he was said to have lived for a time: “He’s very cunning; he’s not a dumb guy,” he said. “He’s been avoiding the authorities for 40-plus years. I don’t think he ever took a job where he needed to be fingerprinted or photographed. I don’t he ever took employment that ever did any background check. He was a guy who didn’t lay his head in any one place for very long.”