Arrest made in cold case murder of a Massachusetts teenager more than three decades ago

Michael Hand, 61, of Troutman, N. C., has been arrested for the October 1986 murder of 15-year-old Tracy Gilpin in Kingston, Mass.

(Fox 25 Boston)

A North Carolina man has been arrested in the cold case murder of more than 31 years ago of a Massachusetts teenager, authorities said Sunday.

Michael Hand, 61, of Troutman, is charged with murder in the death of Tracy Gilpin, who was 15 when she disappeared in her hometown of Kingston, on Oct. 1, 1986, Fox 25 Boston reported. Her partially clothed body was found three weeks later. She died of a blow to her head that her skull was crushed.

Gilpin was the sister of Massachusetts’ top cop.

“Over the past three decades, we have continued to hope that Tracy’s murderer would be identified,” the federal Police Inspector Kerry Gilpin said. “The much-welcomed news of the arrest in the case, let us cautiously optimistic that justice for Tracy is within easy reach. My thoughts are today not only with my own family, but also with all the families who have lost loved ones to violence. We will continue to work tirelessly to find justice for all the victims of murder.”

#BREAKING This is a photo of the 15-year-old Tracy Gilpin. Work to learn more about how after more than 30 years, authorities were able to tie Michael Hand of Troutman to her murder. We could learn more at his first appearance tomorrow. @FOX46News

— Brett Baldeck (@BrettFOX46) March 11, 2018

Gilpin said her family was very grateful to those who provided information to investigators assigned to her sister’s case.

Tracy was last seen buying cigarettes in a supermarket. They went there after going to a party with friends.

The woman behind the counter remembers seeing Tracy in conversation with someone in a jeep in the parking lot, Fox 25 reported in 2016.

The woman says that she offered Tracy a ride home when the store closed around 11 a.m.

Tracy refused, and began to walk, the station reported.

“A nearby neighbor heard what she thought was a scream and a car to take away. Tracy never came home that night,” Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz told Fox 25.

Statement of Colonel @KerryGilpin on arrest of Michael Hand, Suspect in the murder of Colonel Gilpin’s sister

— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) March 11, 2018

Her body was found 14 miles away in the woods of Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth.

“She had a significant brain injury,” Cruz told the station. “She had died as a result of a huge blow on her head.”

Cruz told the station that the evidence suggests that Tracy was kidnapped, before they are brutally murdered.

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