Man arrested for murder of 11-year-old Melissa Tremblay, nearly 34 years after her death


Police have arrested a 74-year-old man in the 1988 murder of 11-year-old Melissa Tremblay in Massachusetts, the Essex District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Marvin C. McClendon Jr. was arrested Tuesday in Bremen, Alabama, and taken into the custody of the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said at a press conference.

McClendon “has been placed under arrest and charged as a fugitive based on an arrest warrant issued yesterday for the murder of Melissa Ann Tremblay,” a press release from Blodgett’s office said.

The suspect is expected to be arraigned next week, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office told CNN on Thursday. CNN attempted to reach a public defender who could represent McClendon, but offices were closed Thursday; the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office told CNN earlier it had no information on whether McClendon had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

Melissa was found dead on September 12, 1988, at the old Boston and Maine Railroad Station in Lawrence, the press release said.

She had been stabbed to death and a train had run over her post-mortem body, the statement said.

The girl was last seen the day before playing in quarters near a social club in Lawrence while her mother and the mother’s boyfriend were inside, Blodgett said. A railroad employee and a pizza delivery driver were the last people to see her alive.

Melissa’s mother frantically searched the area before reporting her missing around 9 p.m. ET, according to the news release.

“Over the years, dozens of witnesses, suspects and persons of interest have been interviewed by police,” but the case has not been resolved, the statement said.

The cold case was reviewed by authorities in 2014 and “evidence recovered from the victim’s body helped solve the case,” the statement said. Blodgett declined to comment on the specific evidence that led to the arrest while speaking to reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Investigation revealed that the suspect was living in Chelmsford in 1988 and had multiple connections to Lawrence,” the statement said, which said he worked and attended establishments in the town, as well as a local church.

Tremblay’s surviving relatives have been notified of the arrest, the prosecutor’s office said.

“I want to thank everyone involved in this investigation from start to finish,” Blodgett said. “Their tireless pursuit of justice for Melissa has brought us to this moment. We have never forgotten Melissa, nor have we given up on holding her killer accountable.

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