Tracy Ocasio: What Happened to Her? Has She Been Found?

In 2009, Tracy Ocasio went to her favorite bar to watch the Magic play in the NBA playoffs. But when she didn’t return home that night and the next morning, her loved ones became concerned over her well-being and whereabouts. In the episode titled ‘Final Season’ of Investigation Discovery’s ‘Disappeared,’ we get a detailed account of the disappearance as Tracy’s loved ones mainly talk about her and the impact she had on their lives while the officials share the intricate details related to the development in the case.

Tracy Ocasio Went Missing After Watching a Basketball at Her Favorite Bar

Tracy Eileen Ocasio was born on August 10, 1981, to Liz and Joe Ocasio, who showered their daughter with loads of love and care. Growing up, she had various pets, including lizards, scorpions, and a cat she named Cookie. Since she had an affinity towards making jewelry, she decided to turn her hobby into a business by selling jewelry, especially earrings, on the internet. She also took classes at a community college. Tracy followed the Orlando Magic basketball team quite religiously; if she wasn’t able to watch the game in the stands, she used to head to her favorite bar — the Florida Tap Room — to watch it with her friends at the bar.

On the night of May 26, 2009, Orlando Magic played against the Cleveland Cavaliers so naturally, Tracy went to the bar in Orlando. Early the next morning, when her mother saw that she hadn’t returned from the bar last night, she texted her right away but thought that she might have crashed at one of her friends’ place. Her parents began worrying when there was no sign of her all day. At about 7 pm in the evening, the Ocasios received a call from the police, who told them that Tracy’s yellow Chevy Cobalt was parked in front of someone’s property on Franklin Street in Ocoee, just a few miles away from her residence. Soon, Tracy’s parents reported the 27-year-old woman, who was last seen in the early hours of May 27, 2009, missing.

There is Still No Trace of Tracy Ocasio

The authorities began their search for Tracy Ocasio at the Florida Tap Room, where they went over the surveillance footage of the night. She was seen leaving with a man named James Virgil Hataway at around 1:30 am. When the police questioned James about the night, he claimed that he was already an acquaintance of Tracy and had only asked her to drop him off at his place. According to him, they reached his place at around 2 am, after which she left. During the interrogation, they also found out that he had a few minor run-ins with the law, mainly for speeding, fighting, and roughhousing.

Image Credit: Joe Liz Tracy Ocasio/Facebook

When the detectives learned that James’ house was located around Franklin Street, where they found Tracy’s abandoned vehicle, they called him in for questioning yet again, conducted a polygraph test, which he failed, and asked for a lawyer. The investigators even noticed that Tracy’s phone was near James’ property at around 8 am on May 27, thanks to the ping that her phone made when Liz called Tracy at that time. After that, James was named a person of interest. On June 1, 2009, a search warrant was issued for James’ house and the police searched through the property, but all they found was a marijuana bong. Thus, he was arrested for the possession of drug paraphernalia.

As soon as James’ image went public, the police received a call from Rachel Clarke, claiming to be on the receiving end of a dangerous attack from James in August 2008. Similar to the case of Tracy, he had asked Rachel to drive him home from a party. When the two hugged goodbye, he began squeezing her tight and choked her. Fortunately, she managed to break free from his hold and began screaming for help. While he attempted to twist her neck and break it, neighbors came running outside, forcing him to flee the scene.

Upon delving deeper into Tracy Ocasio’s life, the detectives also found out that she had filed charges against a guy named Paul Hutto for misdemeanor battery. Two of them had gotten into an argument right outside the Florida Tap Room. When he pushed her to the ground, she called the police immediately. Things got more interesting yet complicated when the police found a connection between Paul and James. In 2011, James received a life imprisonment sentence related to the Rachel Clarke incident, but the police could not find any connection with Tracy’s disappearance. During his trial, he denied hurting Rachel intentionally and blamed most of it on liquor, claiming that he could not remember what had happened that night.

Despite so many leads over the years, not even a single trace of Tracy was found, except for her boot, which the authorities found in a wooded area. In 2013, her family members believed that she was dead. However, they told News 6, “In our mind, we know circumstances tell us she’s probably not with us, but in our hearts, we always say, ‘What if?’ You always hope. You have to hope.” After around 12 years or so, in June 2022, the police stated, “It is our hope to one day bring closure to this case and her family by finding Tracy or learning what happened to her.”

The authorities added, “By bringing continued attention to her case, someone might come forth with a critical piece of information to solve her disappearance. No matter how inconsequential a piece of information might seem, it could be the key.” As of now, only James Hataway, who is currently serving his life sentence behind bars, is the primary suspect in the disappearance case of Tracy Ocasio. Furthermore, as some advanced and new technology has emerged over the past few years, the authorities are planning to resubmit all the pieces of evidence they have related to Tracy’s case.

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