The family of a New Hampshire girl killed in Massachusetts in 1988 are thanking law enforcement officials for making an arrest more than three decades later.
The surviving family of Melissa Ann Tremblay on Saturday said they appreciated that police never gave up on the case, adding they look forward to seeing “justice finally served.”
“We never thought that after 33 1/2 years we would finally see someone arrested and facing a judge,” the family said in a statement provided by Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office. “The fact that technology has advanced and they were able to follow DNA evidence to find this man has brought us great joy.”
Marvin C. McClendon Jr., a retired Massachusetts corrections officer, was ordered held without bail on Friday following his extradition from Alabama, where he lives.
The 74-year-old Bremen resident pleaded not guilty in Lawrence District Court. He’s been charged with fatally stabbing Tremblay in September 1988.
The 11-year-old from Salem, New Hampshire had been playing outside in Lawrence while her mother, who died in 2015, was inside a local social club. Her body was found in a nearby railway yard the following day.
Prosecutors said in court Friday that the state crime lab generated a DNA profile from Tremblay’s body and was able to link it to McClendon.
McClendon’s lawyers have suggested it’s possible the DNA belongs to another member of the McClendon family.
But prosecutors on Friday argued that most of his family live in Alabama and have never been to Massachusetts.
They also said the former corrections officer, who retired in 2002, had been living not far away in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and worked and attended church in Lawrence at the time of the killing.
McClendon was arrested last month. He’s due back in court June 17.