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North Carolina Man Charged with 1986 Homicide

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Contact: Beth Stone 508-584-8120

BROCKTON – A North Carolina man has been arraigned and charged with the murder of 15-year-old Tracy Gilpin in 1986, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz has announced.

On October 2, 1986, Tracy Gilpin of Kingston, was reported missing by family members. Her body was found in Myles Standish State Park in Plymouth on October 22, 1986. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that Gilpin’s cause of death was a massive skull fracture and the manner of her death was ruled to be a homicide.

Today, Michael Hand (DOB: 01/23/57) of Troutman, North Carolina, was arraigned in Brockton District Court on one count of Murder in the death of Gilpin. Hand pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.

For the last 32 years, State Police Detectives assigned to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, as well as the Plymouth Police and Kingston Police Departments, have continued the investigation into the murder of Gilpin. Recently, State Police assigned to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office developed information about Hand being a potential witness in the Gilpin case, and traveled to North Carolina where Hand currently resides, to speak with him.

State Police together with the assistance of Troutman, N.C. Police and Mooresville, N.C. Police, conducted several interviews with Hand over a number of days last week. As detailed at today’s arraignment, during these interviews, Hand, formerly a Kingston resident, made statements to investigators that could be construed as admissions to the crime. Hand told police he held a gathering at his home the evening that Gilpin was last seen and told them that he knew Gilpin from the Kingston neighborhood. Hand made statements to police that put him at the crime scene in Myles Standish State Park in Plymouth, and Hand told police that he picked up a 73-pound boulder and dropped it on Gilpin. Hand identified the rock to investigators in evidence photos.

On Friday evening, based on the interviews and information provided by Hand, he was placed under arrest and charged as a fugitive from justice based on an arrest warrant issued for the Murder of Tracy Gilpin. On Monday, Hand waived rendition and was returned to Massachusetts to face a Murder charge. Hand is next scheduled to appear in court on April 13.

Assistant District Attorneys Jennifer Sprague and Nicole Caron are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by State Police Detectives assigned to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, with the support and assistance of Kingston Police, Plymouth Police, and Troutman and Mooresville, North Carolina Police Departments.


March 14, 2018