Tracy Gilpin Case: Man, 61, Arrested in 1986 Cold Case Killing of Police Leader’s Teen Sister

An arrest has been made in a Massachusetts murder mystery that’s more than 30 years old, a break in a decades-long cold case that hits especially close to home for the leader of the state police.

A 61-year-old North Carolina man has been arrested for the 1986 killing of 15-year-old Tracy Gilpin, the sister of Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin.

Authorities on Sunday announced Michael Hand was arrested in Troutman, N.C., and will face charges in Gilpin’s killing, CBS reports.

In October 1986, Tracy went to a party near her Kingston, Mass., home and never returned.

Three weeks later, her decomposed body was found in a state forest with evidence she suffered a massive blow to the head.

Col. Gilpin was just 16 at the time and would go on to have a successful career in law enforcement while her sister’s case remained unsolved.

“For the past three decades, we have remained hopeful that Tracy’s murderer would be identified,” Gilpin said in a statement. “The much-welcomed news of an arrest in the case leaves us cautiously optimistic that justice for Tracy is within reach.”

Hand will appear in a North Carolina court tomorrow, according to the Massachusetts State Police. He is in the process of being returned to Massachusetts to face prosecution. 


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Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for 1998 Cold Case Killing provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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