Four months ago, Col. Kerry Gilpin took over as superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, but her name is getting national news now with the announcement that a suspect in her sister's 1986 murder has been arrested. Tracy Gilpin was 15 when she left a party in Kingston and never made it home; her body was found three weeks later in a state forest, her head beneath a boulder; CNN reports Col. Gilpin was 16 at the time. On Friday Michael Hand was arrested some 700 miles away in Troutman, NC, reports the New York Times. Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz announced the development Sunday but did not discuss the evidence that pointed to Hand. The 61-year-old was 29 at the time of Gilpin's death and lived about five miles from her home, reports the Boston Globe.
A law enforcement source tells the Boston Herald it "wasn't a cold, DNA database hit" that led to Hand, but "shoe-leather type police work." CBS Boston reports Col. Gilpin decided to go into law enforcement following her sister's murder, and had this to say in a statement: "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." Extradition proceedings are underway; when Hand is brought back to Massachusetts he will be charged with murder. (Their recollections of their mom's 1982 death led to their dad's arrest.)