Family of teen found dead 30 years ago offers $10k reward

By: Bob Ward

Updated:

KINGSTON, Mass. - A heartbreaking milestone is approaching for a South Shore family.

In 1986, Tracy Gilpin was 15 years old and a Silver Lake Regional High School freshman. On Oct. 1, a Wednesday night, Tracy went to a house party to hang out with her friends.

“Every time she came in or went out, she’d say I love you. And I just told her be careful,” said Tracy’s mother Kathy Gilpin.

A Cumberland Farms convenience store in Kingston stands abandoned now, but it is the last place she was ever seen alive. She left a party to buy cigarettes at the store.

It was the last night Kathy Gilpin would ever see her daughter alive.

“That night I knew something was wrong,” Kathy Gilpin told FOX25’s Bob Ward.

The next morning Tracy didn’t come home, and the family knew there was trouble.

“I saw a lot of her friends at school, and when I came home from school with the phone ringing off the hook. At that point, we realized something was wrong,” said Tracey’s older sister, Kerry Gilpin.

The investigation revealed that when Tracy left the party, instead of going home she walked to the Cumberland Farms.

The clerk who was working the Cumberland farms that night, remembers seeing Tracy talking to someone in a Jeep in the parking lot. Tracy left the store and used a payphone to make a phone call.

At about 11 p.m., the store closed, and the clerk offered Tracy a ride home. Tracy refused and started walking. 

“A nearby neighbor heard what they thought was a scream and a car taking off. Tracy never came home that night,” Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said.

Tracy’s family contacted police and conducted its own search.

Days turned into weeks, until finally Tracy’s body was found on Oct. 22.

Search crews found her more than 14 miles away in the woods of the Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth.

The DA told FOX25 that Tracy died a brutal death.

“She had significant brain trauma. She had died due to a massive blow to her head,” said Plymouth County DA Tim Cruz.

“The evidence suggests she was abducted. She was abducted from a place that she was, and taken to another section of our county where she was brutally murdered,” Cruz said.

In all these years, Tracy’s family has not given up its search. Now, the family is so frustrated about the case that they are offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to an arrest and prosecution of her killer.

If you know anything, call the Mass State Police assigned to the Plymouth County DA’s office at (508) 923-4205.

Kerry Gilpin is now a lieutenant with the Massachusetts State Police Harassment Unit. When she thinks about her sister’s murder beaten to death in the forest, she sees a lot of anger.

“Somebody knew her. Somebody was angry. Angry enough to do that,” Kerry Gilpin said.

Next Up: