After 34 Years, Police Arrest Suspect In Killing Girl

35 years later, the murderers of a young black man are arrested in the US 1:28

(WABNEWS) — 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.

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


McClendon “was arrested and charged as a fugitive from justice based on an arrest warrant issued yesterday for the murder of Melissa Ann Tremblay,” says a cPress release from Blodgett’s office.

They expect to process the suspect next week, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office told WABNEWS on Thursday. WABNEWS attempted to contact a public defender who may be representing McClendon, but the offices were closed Thursday. The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office previously told WABNEWS it had no information on whether McClendon had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Melissa was found dead on Sept. 12, 1988, at the former Boston & Maine Railway Yard in Lawrence, according to the news release.

She was stabbed to death, and then her body was run over by a train, according to the statement.

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

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

“Over the years, police have interviewed dozens of witnesses, suspects and persons of interest,” but the case remained unsolved, according to the statement.

The cold case was re-examined by authorities in 2014 and “evidence recovered from the victim’s body was instrumental in solving the case,” the statement said. Blodgett declined to comment on the specific evidence that led to the arrest, speaking to reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.

“The investigation found that the suspect lived in Chelmsford in 1988 and had multiple ties to Lawrence,” the press release states, meaning that he worked and frequented establishments in the town, as well as a local church.

Tremblay’s surviving family members 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. “Her tireless pursuit of justice for Melissa brought us to this moment. We never forgot Melissa, nor did we give up holding her killer accountable.”



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