N. Carolina: Arrest Made in 3-Decade-Old Murder of Kingston’s Tracy Gilpin

An arrest has been made in the 1986 murder of Tracy Gilpin, of Kingston.

Mug shot courtesy Iredell Co, NC.

Michael Hand – Photo courtesy Iredell Co, NC.

61-year-old Michael Hand, of Troutman, North Carolina, was arrested on Saturday night, in North Carolina, by Mass. State Police and local police.

Hand will be brought back to Plymouth County, Massachusetts to face murder charges.

15-year-old Tracy Gilpin was last seen alive leaving a party in Kingston, on October 1, 1986.

Her body was found three weeks later, in the Myles Standish State Forest.

Tracy was the sister of Col. Kerry Gilpin, the superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police.

Click here to listen to a March 2016 WATD interview with Tracy’s family and click here to listen to a May 2017 interview with Tracy’s family.

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Tracy Gilpin

Statement of Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin on Arrest of Michael Hand
March 11, 2018
Arrest of Suspect in Murder of Colonel Kerry Gilpin’s Sister, Tracy Gilpin
Massachusetts State Police Release — 03112018 — Statement of Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin on Arrest of Michael Hand
Massachusetts State Police and police in North Carolina have arrested MICHAEL HAND, now 61, of Troutman, N.C., for the October 1986 homicide of 15-year-old Tracy Gilpin of Kingston, Mass. HAND is in custody in North Carolina pending an expected court appearance there tomorrow. Authorities have begun rendition proceedings to bring him back to Massachusetts to be prosecuted for Tracy Gilpin’s murder.
Tracy’s sister, Colonel Kerry Gilpin, the Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, issues the following statement.
Statement of Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin
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.”
Kerry A. Gilpin
Massachusetts State Police

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About Christine James

Christine James is the Managing News Editor, and anchor at WATD. She has been a fixture here since 1990. Along the way in her WATD newsroom journey, she has won numerous broadcast awards including the Associated Press and Edward R. Murrow National Award for "Best Newscast."