LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - A former Massachusetts corrections officer now living in Alabama has been charged with the 1988 murder of an 11-year-old girl in Lawrence, the Essex County District Attorney’s office said Wednesday.

Marvin McClendon Jr., 74, was arrested in Breman, Alabama, on Monday on a warrant for the murder of Melissa Ann Tremblay, DA Jonathan Blodgett said. McClendon will be arraigned as a fugitive from justice Thursday and is expected to be returned to Massachusetts on the murder charge.

Tremblay, who was from Salem, New Hampshire, was discovered stabbed to death in a Lawrence railway yard on September 12, 1988. Tremblay had been playing in the railway yard while her mother and boyfriend went to the LaSalle Social Club nearby.

“What was done to her, just like any child murder, it is beyond evil,” said Tremblay’s friend, Andrea Ganley. “As the years went on, there’s those days when you want to give up hope, but today proves don’t ever give up hope.”

Officials said McClendon worked for the state Department of Correction on three separate occasions between 1970 and 2002, and lived in Chelmsford and was working as a carpenter in Lawrence at the time of the murder.

They did not immediately release any information that led to McClendon being charged with Tremblay’s murder but said evidence recovered from her body helped them solve the case.

“We will take every effort to find someone who has murdered a loved one,” Blodgett said. “We will take every effort that we have to to pursue justice.”

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