In February 2017, Tracy's older sister Colonel Gilpin told Dateline her little sister had called the woman at whose home the party had been held, asking if she would come get her and take her home, as she didn't want to walk alone.
Hand, who is now in the custody of the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, lived in Kingston at the time of the homicide, a source confirmed.
Col. Gilpin said the arrest "leaves us cautiously optimistic that justice for Tracy is within reach". "We will continue to work tirelessly to find justice for all murder victims", she said.
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Tracy Gilpin, 15, disappeared on October 1, 1986, and was reported missing by family members. She was last seen near her Kingston, MA home after she left a party to buy cigarettes. Her body was found on October 22, 1986 and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that her cause of death was a massive skull fracture. At the time of her murder, Hand just lived on Brookdale Street, five miles away from Gilpin.
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Eyewitness News reporter DaShawn Brown is asking how authorities what kind of evidence led them to the suspect after all of these years and how they were able to track him down to Troutman.
A man living in Iredell County has been arrested and charged in connection with a 1986 murder of a teenage girl in MA, according to a news release.
Hand is set to appear in a North Carolina courtroom Monday.
Hand will be transported to MA where he will be charged with with murder in the death of Gilpin, officials say. Michael Hand was placed under arrest and charged him with being a fugitive from justice and pinning him "for the 1986 homicide" of Tracy.
Authorities would later say Tracy had been brutally murdered, the cause of death most likely from a massive blow to the head. We are also extremely grateful to the members of the public who have provided information to investigators.