March 12 (UPI) -- Authorities have made an arrest in a 31-year-old murder case involving a teenage Massachusetts girl, investigators announced.
Officials said he is being investigated in the disappearance of 15-year-old Tracy Gilpin from Kingston, Mass., on Oct. 1, 1986, after she left a party to buy cigarettes. Kingston is about 30 miles southeast of Boston.
The clerk told Boston 25 News Tracy was seen speaking to "someone in a Jeep outside in the parking lot and using a payphone."
Gilpin was found dead in Plymouth, Mass., three weeks later. The cause of her death was massive skull fracture.
Investigation has continued over the years with information that led state troopers to recently travel to North Carolina. Police said Hand, 61, was charged as a fugitive based on an arrest warrant issued for Tracy's murder. He is being held in North Carolina pending extradition to Massachusetts.
Tracy is the sister of MSP Col. Kerry A. Gilpin.
"My family and I would like to thank ... all of the investigators who have worked diligently over the last 31 years to solve Tracy's murder," Gilpin said 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."