Authorities say they are now closing in on one of the most wanted fugitives in the United States after he escaped from an Ohio prison in 1973.
Lester Eubanks, 77, is believed to be in the Los Angeles area, an official with the U.S. Marshals Service said on Saturday. His case received renewed attention when it was the subject of a recent episode of true crime documentary series “Unsolved Mysteries,” released on Netflix in October.
Eubanks was convicted of the 1965 murder and attempted rape of Mary Ellen Deener, 14. He was sentenced to the death penalty, but in 1972 his sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole.
But in December 1973, while on a temporary honor furlough to go Christmas shopping, Eubanks walked away from the custody of the Ohio Department of Corrections, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Eubanks is on the U.S. Marshals’ list of its 15 most wanted fugitives, and authorities are offering $50,000 for information that directly leads to his arrest. Officials said that he may be using the alias Victor Young to hide his identity.
Investigators narrowed their search to the Los Angeles area after reviewing recently obtained photographs that allegedly show Eubanks working and socializing with people in Los Angeles County, including a former waterbed factory in Gardena, NBC Los Angeles reports.
At various times, authorities suspect he might have lived in Gardena, South Los Angeles, Long Beach and North Hollywood.
Deputy U.S. Marshal David Siler said that officials also believe Eubanks worked as a janitor at St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood in the late 1980s or early ’90s, according to NBC Los Angeles.
“We believe that he may have never left the Greater Los Angeles area,” Siler said. “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.”