TROUTMAN, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A North Carolina man has been arrested for the 1986 murder of a state police officer's sister.
State police spokesman David Procopio says 61-year old Michael Arthur Hand of Troutman, N.C. is in custody in that state for the murder of 15-year-old Tracy Gilpin of Kingston in 1986.
Gilpin was the sister of State Police Col. Kerry A. Gilpin.
Procopio tells the Boston Herald that authorities are moving forward to return Hand to Massachusetts after a court appearance in North Carolina on Monday.
Colonel Kerry Gilpin, of the Massachusetts State Police released the following statement:
"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 past 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."
Hand was arrested at his Troutman home on Friday. Neighbors say Hand moved in about 10 years ago and rarely talked about his past. They knew he traveled to the Boston area often.
"He told me that he was in the witness protection from the 9/11 incident," said neighbor, Calvin Ostwalt.
Ostwalt tells FOX 46 Charlotte he now has trouble believing that story after hearing his neighbor was arrested for a 31 year old cold case.
"It shocks me to hear this about him you know, but sometimes you don't know who you're standing in front of you know," said Ostwalt.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.