Family of girl killed in Lawrence in 1988 reacts to alleged killer’s arrest

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The man accused in the death of Melissa Tremblay, 11, was just arrested Tuesday.

Melissa Tremblay was 11 years old when she was murdered in Lawrence in 1988 and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett Wednesday identified the person responsible for the child’s brutal killing. Essex District Attorney

The surviving family members of an 11-year-old girl found dead in Lawrence in 1988 have released a statement following the arrest of her alleged killer this week.

Nearly 34 years after Melissa “Missy” Tremblay’s body was found in a railroad yard in Lawrence, Marvin C. “Skip” McClendon Jr., 74, of Bremen, Alabama, was arrested Tuesday, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett announced on Wednesday.

McClendon waived rendition, and arrangements are being made to bring him back to Massachusetts to face murder charges related to Tremblay’s death. He is set to appear in Lawrence District Court at a later date.

Tremblay, of Salem, New Hampshire, was found dead at the Boston & Maine Railway yard near Andover Street and South Broadway on Sept. 12, 1988, authorities said. She was reportedly stabbed to death. After she died, her remains were struck by a train, and her left leg severed.

In their statement, the aunt, uncle, and cousins of Tremblay thanked authorities for their work.

Marvin C. Skip McClendon Jr. – Essex Distrit Attorney’s Office

“Since her murder in 1988, we have always prayed for justice,” the statement says.  “We have never stopped thinking of Missy, despite what others, who say they are her friends, have said in the media in the past years. My aunt Janet may not have used the best judgement (sic) in allowing Missy to play around the neighborhood of the social club, but that is between her and God. She loved Missy and never intended any harm to come to her.”

The night Tremblay went missing, she was playing in a neighborhood near the LaSalle social club, which her mother and her mother’s boyfriend were visiting. They couldn’t find Missy when they came out, and she was later reported missing, authorities said. Her mother has since passed away.

McClendon reportedly had multiple ties to Lawrence. A resident of Chelmsford at the time, he was a carpenter when Missy died. He also worked for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections three separate times between 1970 and 2002.

“I can’t say if he was surprised when he was interviewed in Alabama,” Blodgett said Tuesday. “I will tell you that he has been a person of interest for a period of time.”

Read the full statement:

”As the family of Melissa Tremblay we would like to address the recent arrest made in her case.  First and foremost we would like to thank the police who have worked so hard over the years to make sure justice was found.  Thank you to the Essex District Attorney’s Office for reaching out to us to make sure we knew what was going on.  Especially Michelle Defeo who worked hard to locate us since we have moved out of state.  

Since her murder in 1988, we have always prayed for justice.  We have never stopped thinking of Missy, despite what others, who say they are her friends, have said in the media in the past years.  My aunt Janet may not have used the best judgement in allowing Missy to play around the neighborhood of the social club, but that is between her and God.  She loved Missy and never intended any harm to come to her.  

We thank everyone for their prayers and so many of the kind words we have seen posted on the social media articles.  We are very eager for the next steps that the Essex County DA’s office will be taking in the prosecution of Marvin McClendon.” 

Via the Essex District Attorney’s Office

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