Michael Hand’s arrest in North Carolina on Friday for the 1986 murder of Tracy Gilpin was reminiscent of the 1998 indictment of Eric H Anderson Jr., who was charged with murdering a woman in Myles Standish State Forest in the 1970s.

PLYMOUTH – The weekend announcement that police have a suspect in a decades-old murder hit locals like an episode of déjà vu.

Michael Hand’s arrest in North Carolina on Friday for the 1986 murder of Tracy Gilpin was reminiscent of the 1998 indictment of Eric H Anderson Jr., who was charged with murdering a woman in Myles Standish State Forest in the 1970s.

Both women were found in remote sections of the massive forest. Decades passed before police brought charges in both cases as well.

It was more than 21 years before investigators were able to secure an indictment against Anderson for the 1977 murder of Hanson school teacher Ruth Masters. Masters was murdered while riding a bicycle on a trail on the west side of the forest on May 14, 1977.

More than three decades have passed since Gilpin, a 15-year-old from Kingston, disappeared in October 1986. A woman picking flowers found her remains three weeks later near the east entrance to the forest.

Throughout the years, the Gilpin family has maintained hope that Tracy’s killer could be held accountable. Last year, the family raised the reward in the case to $25,000.

Prosecutors have not said what enabled them finally to bring a charge.

In Anderson’s case, the break came after investigators took a fresh look at the case and realized that two witnesses had been overlooked at the time of the murder.

The couple, traced to their new home in Florida, told investigators, and later jurors, that they saw Anderson driving around in the state forest on the day that Ruth Masters died.

Anderson was 72 and already serving time in Maine when he was finally charged with murdering Masters in 1998.

A Stoughton native, he had a history of violence with women that dated to 1957, when he was convicted of rape. He was declared sexually dangerous in 1959 and spent the next 15 years in state custody.

Five months after Masters’ murder, Anderson was convicted of tying up a female hitchhiker in Kingston and threatening her with a knife. He was sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison and was still serving time in 1986 when Gilpin disappeared.

Anderson was convicted of kidnapping and assaulting a woman in Maine in 1990. He was four years shy of parole when a jury convicted him of first-degree murder for Masters’ death in 2003. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He died in prison in November 2016 of a terminal illness. He was 89.