An Alabama man has been arrested for the 1988 murder of an 11-year-old New Hampshire girl.
Marvin "Skip" C. McClendon, Jr. is in custody in his home state for the murder of Melissa Ann "Missy" Tremblay some 34 years ago, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett announced on Tuesday.
Blodgett said McClendon, who worked in the past as a corrections officer, would be arraigned in Cullman County, Alabama on Wednesday.
Melissa, a sixth-grader at the Lancaster School, was found dead on railroad tracks at the Boston & Maine freight terminal in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Sept. 12, 1988.
Reported missing the previous day, she had been stabbed and run over by a freight car.
"It's overwhelming and shocking," said Andrea Ganley, a childhood friend of Tremblay's who advocated for further investigation of the case in recent years.
Ganley learned of the arrest in the case from reporters Tuesday morning and soon left work so she could gather more information, she said.
"I never thought this day was going to happen. There is always hope. Never give up hope," Ganley said.
While they were four years apart in age, Ganley said she and Tremblay, a happy and bubbly girl, were close friends.
"She was always friendly. ... She loved fashion and pocketbooks, Madonna and New Kids On The Block. ... I thought she was just beautiful, perfect. She had cool hair, cool clothes. I basically looked up to her," said Ganley, in a 2017 interview with The Eagle-Tribune.
In the days after Tremblay's murder, Ganley remembers all students gathering in the Lancaster school cafeteria. Friends from Tremblay's class spoke. And then the whole school sang "That's What Friends Are For," by Dionne Warwick.
"To this day, I still can't listen to that song without crying," Ganley said.
Initial reporting following the 1988 death noted "Footprints and blood discovered about 65 feet from the tracks indicate that a struggle took place. There appeared to be at least one stab wound and Melissa's left leg had been severed by a train," according to the report.
Previous reports also noted Melissa was found fully clothed and she was wearing high-topped sneakers. A small denim purse with Melissa's wallet and identification was found near her body.