Suspect Is Finally Charged In The Cold Case Stabbing Murder of 11-Year-Old Girl

Sixth grader Melissa Tremblay was found stabbed to death in a railway yard in 1988. Now, over 30 years later, an arrest has been made for her murder.

Melissa Tremblay, pictured here smiling, was found dead in 1988. Now, over 30 years later, an arrest has been made for her murder.

Sixth grader Melissa Tremblay was found stabbed to death in a railway yard in 1988. Now, over 30 years later, an arrest has been made for her murder.

Photo by: Essex District Attorney's Office

Essex District Attorney's Office

Eleven-year-old Melissa Ann Tremblay’s 1988 murder in Lawrence, Massachusetts, gained national attention. However, the case went cold and remained unsolved for nearly 34 years until an arrest was finally made on April 26, 2022.

Marvin C. McClendon, Jr., a 74-year-old man currently living in Bremen, Alabama, was arrested and charged as a fugitive from justice. The suspect was a former Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer, and he was doing carpentry work at the time of the child’s murder. According to CBS Boston, he had been a suspect for some time.

On Sept. 11, 1988, Tremblay, who lived in Salem, New Hampshire, went with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend to the LaSalle Social Club nine miles away in Lawrence, Massachusetts. While the adults stayed indoors, she went outside to play in the surrounding neighborhoods, reported CNN. Witnesses last saw her in the late afternoon of Sept. 11. Her mother frantically searched for her before reporting her missing that evening.

The 11-year-old’s body was found in an old railway yard the day after she was reported missing by her mother. She had been repeatedly stabbed, according to MSN. After her death, her body was hit by a train which caused her leg to be severed.

At a news conference after McClendon’s arrest, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said, “I can’t even express how gratified we are in this office that we are able to pursue justice for any family, and it is extremely gratifying that after all these years of never giving up, we believe we have the right suspect.”

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