ESSEX COUNTY, Mass. (WHNT) — An Alabama man has been officially indicted for the murder of an 11-year-old girl in 1988, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office (ECDA) in Massachusetts.
74-year-old Marvin C. “Skip” McClendon, Jr. of Bremen, Alabama was indicted on first-degree murder charges on Wednesday by an Essex County Grand Jury. McClendon entered a plea of “not guilty” at his arraignment on May 13.
McClendon was arrested on April 26, 2022, on a fugitive-from-justice warrant at his home in Cullman County, Alabama.
It was DNA evidence that linked McClendon, a former Massachusetts Department of Corrections Officer, to the murder of Melissa Ann Tremblay, known by “Missy” to her family; what that evidence was, the ECDA’s office says, won’t be released while the trial is ongoing.
Though the case of Missy’s murder was never fully closed, Carrie Kimball with the ECDA’s office says the investigation was reopened “with intention” in 2014, with investigators doing more digging through the details “in earnest.”
Missy’s body was found lying on the train tracks of the old Boston & Maine Railway Yard. She had been stabbed multiple times. According to ECDA Johnathan Blodgett, her left leg had been amputated by a train car after she died.
She had disappeared from the streets of Lawrence, Massachusetts on a late September evening in 1988 while playing around the neighborhood of the LaSalle Social Club. She was reported missing by her mother around 9 p.m. after she and her boyfriend had frantically searched for her.
Her body was found the next day, just one block away from the social club, authorities said.
A van that had been seen in the area was similar to a van that the suspect drove at the time, prosecutors said. No motive for the killing was disclosed.
At the time, authorities found that McClendon had lived in Chelmsford during the time of Missy’s murder, along with having multiple ties to the Lawrence area – including a church he attended.
McClendon, Blodgett said, had been a “person of interest” in the case for a period of time, telling media in a press conference shortly after his arrest that they “believe we have the right person.”
According to the ECDA’s office, the case will now be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Essex County Superior Court, with the expectation of an arraignment hearing in Salem Superior Court in July.
McClendon remains held without bail.