Marvin C. McClendon Jr. was arrested Tuesday in Breman, Alabama and placed in the custody of the Coleman County Sheriff’s Office, Attorney General Jonathan Blodgett said at a news conference.
The suspect was expected to appear in Alabama court Thursday before being extradited to Massachusetts. Accessed by CNN, neither the Essex DA office nor the Coleman County Sheriff’s office had information on whether McClendon had an attorney who might comment on his behalf.
Melissa was found dead on September 12, 1988, on the Old Boston and Maine Railroad in Lawrence, the press release states.
The statement said that she had been stabbed to death and a train trampled her body after death.
Blodgett said the girl was last seen the day before, playing in neighborhoods near a social club in Lawrence while her mother and boyfriend were inside. The railroad worker and pizza delivery driver was the last to see her alive.
Melissa’s mother frantically searched the area before reporting her missing at around 9 p.m. ET, according to the press release.
The statement stated that “over the years, the police have questioned dozens of witnesses, suspects and persons concerned”, but the case has not been resolved.
The statement said authorities re-examined the cold case in 2014 and “evidence recovered from the victim’s body was instrumental in resolving the case.” Blodgett declined to comment on the specific evidence that led to the arrest while speaking to reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.
“The investigation found that the suspect was living in Chelmsford in 1988, with multiple connections to Lawrence,” the press release said, specifically that he worked and attended institutions in the city, as well as a local church.
The DA’s office said Tremblay’s surviving relatives have been notified of the arrest.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this investigation from start to finish,” Blodgett said. “Their tireless pursuit of justice for Melissa has brought us to this moment. We have never forgotten Melissa, and we have not given up holding her killer to account.”