Family: We have always prayed for justice | News

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A memorial near a tree planted at the Lancaster School in Salem, New Hampshire, in memory of Melissa “Missy” Tremblay, who attended school there before she was murdered in September 1988.

The family of the girl who was murdered in Lawrence in 1988 issued a statement in the wake of the arrest of an Alabama man more than 33 years after the crime was committed.

“As the family of Melissa Tremblay we would like to address the recent arrest made in her case,” Daneille Root, Tremblay’s cousin, wrote on behalf of the family in a statement released by the Essex District Attorney’s Office on Friday afternoon.

“First and foremost we would like to thank the police who have worked so hard over the years to make sure justice was found,” Root wrote in the statement.


Eleven year-old Melissa Ann Tremblay 

Marvin “Skip” McClendon Jr., 74, of Bremen, Alabama, was arrested at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the southern state and is being held at the Cullman County Detention Center until he can be extradited to Massachusetts, according to Sheriff Matt Gentry.

McClendon, who would have been 41 at the time of the crime, is not contesting his return to Massachusetts, where his arraignment will be held on a future date.

He is a former Massachusetts Department of Corrections worker, where he was employed intermittently as until 2002. At the time of Tremblay’s murder, he worked as a carpenter and was affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lawrence, authorities said.

Tremblay, a sixth-grader at the Lancaster School in Salem, New Hampshire, was found dead on the railroad tracks at the Boston & Maine freight terminal near Andover Street and South Broadway in Lawrence on Sept. 12, 1988.

She was reported missing the previous day and found stabbed to death and run over post mortem by a freight car. Over time the case went cold, until McClendon was arrested this week.

“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,” the family’s statement continues.

“My aunt Janet [Melissa’s mother] may not have used the best judgment 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,” according to the statement.

Tremblay was known to play in the adjacent neighborhoods while her mother, who has since died, and her mother’s boyfriend frequented the social club. She was last seen alive by a railroad employee and pizza delivery driver.

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

The family specifically thanked Michelle Defeo, an attorney and victim witness advocate with Blodgett’s office, “who worked hard to locate us since we moved out of state,” Root wrote.

The statement was signed by Root “on behalf of my parents Paul and Barbara Root and my sister Cheryl Graham (Missy’s aunt, uncle and cousins).”

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