North Carolina man arrested in 1986 murder of MA teen, officials say


Authorities determined that she had been savagely killed because she had a massive skull fracture.

WSOCTV reports that the station spoke with the suspect's neighbors in Trout, North Carolina, who said Hand never spoke of Gilpin, although he apparently had tied to MA and went back to state numerous times over the years.

The victim was the sister of Kerry Gilpin, who is now a Massachusetts State Police Colonel.

On Friday, 61-year-old Michael Hand was arrested at his home in Troutman by MA state troopers and Troutman police, MA police said.

'For the past three decades, we have remained hopeful that Tracy's murderer would be identified, ' the statement read.

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Hand has been charged as a fugitive from justice, MA police said, and he will appear in court in North Carolina on Monday.

On October 1, 1986, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Gilpin left a party with two of her friends.

The 61-year-old is now in custody in North Carolina and will be brought back to MA to be prosecuted for Tracy's murder.

Gilpin said the arrest "leaves us cautiously optimistic that justice for Tracy is within reach". Authorities have begun extradition proceedings to send him back to MA.

She went on to talk about how she is not just thinking of getting justice for her family but "all the families who have lost loved ones to violence".

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During her 2017 interview with MassLive about Tracy's killing, Col. Gilpin, then a major, said she held out hope the case would be solved.

Gilpin was the sister of Massachusetts' top cop.

Hand previously lived in Kingston. The clerk working that night would later tell police she remembered the brunette teen purchasing a pack of cigarettes before going outside to the payphone.

The night Tracy disappeared she babysat at a home in Kingston on October 1, 1986.

Her body was found 14 miles away in the woods of the Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth. The victim disappeared after walking home from the store in Kingston, after refusing a ride from a man inside a jeep at the store's parking lot.

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The Plymouth County District Attorney's office said Hand was charged as a fugitive from justice based on the warrant issued for the murder of 15-year-old Tracy Gilpin.