LAW, Mass – She was last seen alive on a September afternoon more than thirty years ago – but Melissa Tremblay’s whereabouts remained a mystery for long.
The 11-year-old girl from Salem, NH, went with her mother and her boyfriend to LaSalle Social Club on Andover Street on Sunday, September 11, 1988.
Jonathan Blodgett, Essex County District Attorney said: “While her mother and her mother’s boyfriend were still at the club, Melissa played in the neighbourhood.
The last people to see her, Blodgett said: an employee in a nearby pub and a pizza delivery man.
“That night, Melissa’s mother and her boyfriend frantically searched and reported her disappearance to Lawrence Police at around 9 p.m.,” Blodgett said.
The next day, investigators found her body in the rubble.
Blodgett said: ‘She was stabbed to death, and after an autopsy her body was run over by a train car, causing her leg to be amputated.
For years, the crime has haunted state and local investigators.
“Over the years, numerous witnesses, suspects and interested persons have been interviewed by the police,” Blodgett said. “Assistant district attorneys and state police detectives assigned to my office and specializing in cold cases have been working hard on this case since 2014.”
In the end, that seems to have paid off. Blodgett announced the arrest of 74-year-old Marvin C. McClendon, Jr. – who lives in Bremen, Alabama, but has local ties.
“The investigation revealed that the suspect lived in Chelmsford in 1988 and had multiple ties to Lawrence,” Blodgett said. “Specifically, investigators learned that he worked and frequented properties in the city of Lawrence, including the Salem Street Adventist Church.”
As to how investigators identified McClendon as their person, Blodgett said more details will be released during the suspect settlement in Alabama on Thursday. For now, he will only say that the evidence recovered from Tremblay’s body was the “tool” to solve the case.
It was a case that never missed Andrea Ganley, a high school friend of Melissa Tremblay. She recalled to Boston 25 News the last time she saw her friend alive.
“We parted the playing field,” said Ganley. “Just a regular weekend, end of day, start of weekend, looking forward to seeing her again on Monday.”
But by Monday, Ganley and others at the school learned that Melissa was missing.
“A lot of students were very worried, very worried, very scared,” she said.
Hours later, investigators found the girl’s body.
“They informed the teachers and the teachers informed the students,” recalls Ganley. “It’s too bad. It’s too bad.”
Ganley said she was “shocked and overwhelmed” with the news of the arrest.
“I’ve been waiting for this pretty much all my life,” she said. “I didn’t know this day would actually happen.”
Ganley said: “If the suspect killed Melissa Tremblay, he would never have seen the light of day.
“I knew they would never know what they took from the people who loved her,” she said. “The person who did this and what was done to her is evil. It is cruel.”
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