Police arrest NC man for 1986 murder of Kingston teenager

PLYMOUTH, MASS. (WHDH) - KINGSTON, MA (WHDH) – Police have arrested a North Carolina man in connection with the 1986 murder of a Kingston teen.

Massachusetts State Police arrested 61-year-old Michael Hand of Troutman, N.C., at his home Friday with the the assistance of the Troutman Police Department.

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s office said Hand, 61, was charged as a fugitive from justice based on the warrant issued for the murder of 15-year-old Tracy Gilpin.

Gilpin was found dead in Myles Standish State Forest three weeks after she disappeared from a party. Her cause of death was ruled a massive skull fracture.

Hand is in custody in North Carolina and is expected to appear in court on Monday.

Authorities said Hand waived rendition on Monday. They have started the process of bringing him back to Massachusetts. The DA’s office added that once Hand has been returned to the state, he will be arraigned in Plymouth District Court and charged with murder.

Tracy Gilpin’s sister, Colonel Kerry Gilpin, Superintendent of the Mass. State Police, issued the following statement:

“My family and I would like to thank Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz, the Plymouth County State Police Detective Unit, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab, the Kingston and Plymouth Police Departments, police in North Carolina, and all of the investigators who have worked diligently over the last 31 years to solve Tracy’s murder.  We are also extremely grateful to the members of the public who have provided information to investigators.  For the past three decades, we have remained hopeful that Tracy’s murderer would be identified. The much-welcomed news of an arrest in the case leaves us cautiously optimistic that justice for Tracy is within reach. My thoughts today are not just 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 murder victims.”

It’s not yet clear when Hand will be arraigned due to weather conditions.

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