Marvin C. McClendon Jr.

Marvin C. McClendon Jr. stands in the prisoner’s dock during his arraignment in Lawrence District Court, Friday, May 13, 2022, in Lawrence, Mass. McClendon Jr., a 74-year-old Alabama man, was held without bail after a not guilty plea to a charge of murder in connection with the 1988 killing of 11-year-old Melissa Ann Tremblay.

LAWRENCE, Mass. — Prosecutors say DNA linked a Bremen man to a 33-year-old unsolved homicide of an 11-year-old girl.

Melissa Ann “Missy” Tremblay, an 11-year-old Salem, N.H., girl was found dead in a Lawrence, Mass., train yard in September 1988. Prosecutors say DNA from the suspect, Marvin C. “Skip” McClendon Jr., and his family members linked him to the case. McClendon was arraigned on a first-degree murder charge late Friday morning in Lawrence, Mass. District Court. He is being held without bail.

McClendon, 74, was arrested April 26 in Bremen, Alabama, and extradited to Massachusetts.

Prosecutor Jessica Strasnick said McClendon was linked case after a DNA profile was created in 2014 using evidence taken from Tremblay’s body.

DNA samples of males in McClendon’s family were tested as a result, she said.

Prosecutors also said McClendon drove a van similar to one seen in the area prior to Tremblay’s killing. McClendon also shared details of the crime when interviewed by investigators, Strasnick said. Those details had not been made public.

Investigators, collaborating with the FBI, also determined Tremblay’s killer was left-handed like McClendon.

During the brief arraignment, McClendon’s defense attorney, Charles Henry Fasoldt, pointed to the DNA testing saying it was “equally plausible” the DNA of “another male McClendon” could have been found on Tremblay.

Wearing a plaid shirt and beige slacks, McClendon stood in the courtroom’s prisoner dock. His expression never changed during the arraignment.

Extra court officers and Lawrence police officers were brought into the courtroom for additional security during the arraignment.

It was unclear if any of McClendon’s relatives were present. Several of Tremblay’s friends and family attended.

In Alabama, Cullman County Sheriff Department officers assisted Massachusetts investigators with the arrest. McClendon was held at the Cullman County Detention Center until he was returned to Massachusetts for Friday’s arraignment.

A 1965 graduate of Tewksbury High School and an Air Force veteran, McClendon worked in the past as a state corrections officer and a carpenter.

He was living in Chelmsford and affiliated with a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lawrence when Tremblay was killed, officials said at a press conference last week.

A sixth-grader at the Lancaster School in Salem, Tremblay was found dead on the railroad tracks at the Boston & Maine freight terminal near Andover Street and South Broadway in Lawrence on Sept. 12, 1988.

Reported missing the previous day, she had been stabbed to death and run over post mortem by a freight car.

The girl was known to play in the adjacent neighborhoods while her mother and her mother’s boyfriend frequented an area social club. She was last seen alive by a railroad employee and pizza delivery driver.

Tremblay’s mother has since died. However, the girl does having surviving relatives living in the area.

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