Escaped child killer missing for more than 40 years may be ‘hiding in plain sight,’ feds say

A convicted child murderer who has eluded authorities for more than four decades may be living under an alias in one of two states and “hiding in plain sight,” according to federal officials. The U.S. Marshals Service added Lester Eubanks to its “15 Most Wanted List” on Dec. 7 in hopes of ending his 45-year stint … Continue reading “Escaped child killer missing for more than 40 years may be ‘hiding in plain sight,’ feds say”

A convicted child murderer who has eluded authorities for more than four decades may be living under an alias in one of two states and “hiding in plain sight,” according to federal officials.

The U.S. Marshals Service added Lester Eubanks to its “15 Most Wanted List” on Dec. 7 in hopes of ending his 45-year stint on the lam.

“The U.S. Marshals are not deterred by the passage of time when it comes to cases like this one,” U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott of the Northern District of Ohio said in a statement. “We are fueled by one thing, and that is justice for 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener of Mansfield, Ohio, the innocent victim in this case.”

On Nov. 14, 1965, Eubanks shot and bludgeoned to death Mary Ellen in what law enforcement allege was an attempted rape. Authorities quickly identified Eubanks as the offender, and he was arrested the next day and charged with first-degree murder while perpetrating rape.

On May 25, 1966, a jury found Eubanks guilty of the crimes and sentenced him to death. In 1972, Eubanks’ death sentence was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lester Eubanks shot and bludgeoned to death for 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener in what officials alleged was an attempted rape. (U.S. Marshals)

But it was on Dec. 7, 1973, when Eubanks eventually made his escape, after prison officials took him to a shopping center in Columbus, Ohio. He was allowed to walk unescorted as a reward for good behavior, and then never showed at his scheduled pick up location.

“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 statement. “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.”

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Eubanks, who would now be 75, is believed to be alive and living under an alias, according to the agency.

Investigative leads over the years have placed him in Michigan and California, and officials said his whereabouts remain a mystery. A reward of up to $25,000 is available for information leading to his arrest.

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It’s been over three decades since Virginia State Trooper Johnny Rush Bowman was stabbed to death at his home, but federal investigators are hopeful a new reward and plea from his daughter could finally lead to the officer’s killer.

Deputy U.S. Marshal David Siler said that Eubanks may have changed his appearance, used aliases and even started a new life.

“He literally could be hiding in plain sight,” Siler said. “This is why we are asking citizens to be vigilant and contact us with any information they believe will help us apprehend him.”

Eubanks is described by officials as a 5 foot, 11 inches tall black male with black hair and brown eyes. He also has a mole under his left eye.

At the time of his disappearance in 1973, he weighed approximately 175 pounds. Eubanks may be using the alias “Victor Young,” according to federal officials.

Anyone with information on Eubanks or his possible whereabouts is urged to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals office or the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

Human remains found in search for Florida woman who vanished in 2010, police say

Lynda Meier vanished after leaving her Florida apartment at around 5 a.m. on June 4, 2010. On Wednesday, police may have finally discovered where she ended up.

Human remains were discovered while investigators were searching a Miami Gardens field for Meier, police said Thursday. The medical examiner’s office will have to determine whether the remains belong to Meier, who was 40 years old at the time she disappeared.

“During this investigation, investigators located what appears to be human remains near the area in which Meier was last believed to have been,” Hallandale Beach spokeswoman Ra Shana Dabney-Donovan said in a statement.

A search for human remains in the Miami Gardens area was launched earlier in the week when authorities received a tip from a “source” about a body that had been dumped in a tree preserve, the Miami Herald reported. The remains were discovered in a wooded area between a construction site and a house, Osvy Rivera, a worker at the construction site, told the newspaper.

“I pray to God she didn’t suffer,” Sharon Solano, one of Meier’s friends, told CBS Miami

Meier disappeared in 2010. She had plans to take her mother, who lived in Aventura, to a doctor’s appointment but never showed up to her mom's home, according to the Miami Herald. Surveillance video showed Meier leaving her apartment in Hallandale Beach at around 5:17 a.m. that day. Two days later, her abandoned Cadillac Escalade was discovered near an apartment complex in Miami Gardens, police said.

Police questioned two felons who had contact with Meier, but were never able to link the men to her disappearance, the newspaper reported.

Police also searched an area in Opa-locka in June 2013, but came up empty.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

Massachusetts man who confessed to murder granted new trial after 33 years

A man who Massachusetts prosecutors said confessed to killing a young mother 33 years ago has won a new trial under the state’s post-conviction DNA testing law.

Arthur Davis, 53, was one of the first inmates in the state to apply for a new trial under the law which was enacted in 2012, his attorney David Siegel told Fox News.

“From the beginning, he has maintained his innocence and has wanted to try and prove that ever since,” said Siegel, who teaches at the New England Law School of Law in Boston and worked with the New England Innocence Project on Davis' appeal, along with pro-bono attorney Christopher Schultz.

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Siegel said he believes that about 12 to 15 inmates have applied for post-conviction DNA testing, including his client.

In 1986, Davis was convicted of killing Patricia Richard in Lowell on Feb. 10. 1985. He is currently serving a prison sentence of life without parole.

Middlesex County Judge Maynard Kirpalan granted Davis’ request for a new trial in a Nov. 23 ruling.

Davis has tried to overturn his conviction four previous times without success.

Police found Richard’s nude body in an alcove at the Lowell City Hall. She died after being severely beaten to death. She was attacked apparently as she was walking to an all-night diner after going drinking with friends, the Boston Globe reported.

Her violent death came nine days after she gave birth to her first child, a baby girl, according to the Lowell Sun. Richard and Davis were strangers.

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Lowell police Capt. John Cullen takes murder suspect Arthur Davis into custody in the February 1985 slaying of Patricia Richard.  (Lowell Sun)

The evidence against Davis included blood found on several items in his home, a cigarette butt, a confession to police and statements to a co-worker and a friend.

The cigarette butt was found next to Richard’s body. The friend testified that Davis told him “I killed her for a red and white polka dot dress.”

But the DNA testing did not find Richard’s DNA profile on any of the blood samples tested, Kirpalan said. The DNA tests that were conducted weren’t available at the time of the murder.

DNA was extracted from the cigarette butt. It belonged to a man, but not Davis, the judge said.

“This court concludes that in light of its findings concerning the new DNA evidence, and the likely role the challenged physical evidence played in the jury’s deliberations, there is ‘a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice’ and a new trial is warranted,” Kirpalan said.

Siegel said the jury heard Davis testify that his confession to police was coerced.

“The statements to the police are inconsistent with each other and were the product of nine or ten hours of interrogation of a 19-year-old,” Siegel said. “They were inconsistent with each other and the physical evidence."

Middlesex County prosecutors are weighing whether to appeal the ruling or retry Davis.

Utah prosecutors say they have name of cold case killer of 2

A Utah cold case involving the murders of two women on the same date two years apart is closer to being solved now that prosecutors know the name of the accused killer.

Police have known for a long time that Sonia Mejia, 29, and Damiana Castillo, 57, were raped and strangled in Salt Lake County by the same person, but the case went cold and the killer was never found, KTVX reports.

Now Salt Lake County District Attorney Sam Gill says he knows the killer’s name, but he's not ready to release it at this time, according to the station.

“We have identified this person, but this person is not in our jurisdiction,” Gill told the station.

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Mejia was murdered on Feb. 9. 2006. Castillo was murdered on Feb. 9, 2008. The homicides were linked through DNA. Police said the person who killed the women was an intruder who forced his way into their apartments.

Gill said the wanted person is serving jail time outside Utah, the station reported Friday.

The suspect doesn’t know he has been fingered and Gill fears he could go on the lam if he finds out and is accidentally released from jail, according to the station.

In 2009 police said they did not have answers about motives for the killings or if the Feb. 9 date had any significance or was merely a coincidence, KSL-TV reported Friday.

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At that time, investigators said the suspect was a skinny, pint-sized young Hispanic male.

Mejia was six months pregnant when she was killed, according to the station.