Family of girl slain in Lawrence in 1988 speaks out on arrest of newly arrested murder suspect

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The family of Melissa “Missy” Ann Tremblay, who at 11 years old was found stabbed to death in a Lawrence rail yard in 1988, has said they “have never stopped thinking” of her.

“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,” Danielle Root, one of Tremblay’s cousins, wrote in a family statement released by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.

“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,” the statement began.

Tremblay had been playing in the neighborhood as her mother, Janet, and her boyfriend hung out in the LaSalle Social Club on Andover Street in Lawrence on Sept. 11, 1988. The pair of adults “frantically searched the area for her” when she didn’t come back and reported her missing to local police by 9 p.m., according to Essex DA Jonathan Blodgett in a Wednesday press conference announcing the arrest of her suspected killer, Marvin “Skip” McClendon Jr., 74.

The next day, Tremblay’s body was discovered roughly a block away in the Boston & Maine Railway Yard near the corner of South Broadway and Andover Street, Blodgett said.

“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,” Root wrote.

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

McClendon, a former Massachusetts Department of Correction employee who was living in Bremen, Alabama, when he was arrested there on Tuesday, waived rendition in that state on Thursday and will be returning to Massachusetts to face the murder charge.

Further details of how authorities came to suspect McClendon will not be available until his arraignment.

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