Joe Ocasio's statement to the media

Text of the note to reporters from Joe Ocasio, father of missing Ocoee woman Tracy Ocasio:


Since this week's false tip that ended up being a possible prank, and subsequent information on Tracy's boot, we've been getting a lot of calls, visits, request for interviews and or comments about searches earlier this week and this weekend. Some of you already know due to your contacts while others have been "fishing" for information. First I want to let you know that our family's first and utmost priority is twofold, finding Tracy and the person(s) responsible. We were asked to keep some of this information confidential earlier in the week and, as I've always stated, I will follow the request from police at all times to avoid ever interfering with their investigation. In addition, the search group that is helping us has asked our family for privacy and I've kept some things from the media out of respect for them, remember this group is a private group that is donating their time and effort so the least I can do is to follow their wishes. At times I have mixed emotions because as a father I want everything out to the media because I know the media can play a major role in accomplishing both goals, trust me sometimes it's been very hard keeping information to ourselves. ... I hope you all understand our position at times.

All that said in order to avoid interference with this weekend's search, but at the same time give you information here is what I know and would like to do.

•The Boot — We did not get the DNA today and are hoping to get validation by early next week. To date, two of her girlfriends have identified the boot as one just like hers. One of her girlfriends even broke down in tears as soon as she saw it. The top of the boot is made of a unique material (not leather or felt but more of an elastic type material) so we really hope this turns out to be accurate, but not sure what it will lead to.

•This Week's Searches — There have been a couple searches this week. One by the area where the boot was found using a cadaver dog, with no "hits." However it is a large area, plus Lake Bennett has not been searched yet. The other search was done using horses in a wooded area in Ocoee not too far from where the car was found that has had standing water and was not searched before. Again no luck with this search either.

•This Weekend's Search — I know several of you already know, but I ask you to please respect the search group's wishes. We will be available to the media but most likely from our home. At this point unless there is a development we do not plan to be at any of the search areas. I do plan to meet with the team leader to basically thank her for their help but will not stay long to avoid getting in their way.

•Search Areas — This search was put together prior to finding the boot, so there are several areas they are searching and will not be just one or two areas. Out of respect for their request from our family I'm not going to comment on exact locations. ... I hope you understand.

•Media — We will be available from our home to the media. However we will not be available until sometime mid-morning. You are also welcome after the search is over, but at this point I do not know when that will be based on weather, their plans, etc.

•Search Team — "Search and Rescue of Central Florida" — Some people have referred to the search team as part of Texas EquuSearch but that is not correct. This is the same group that has helped look for Jennifer Kesse. I want to give a special thank you to Drew Kesse for giving them our contact information to help us as well, we owe him and continue to pray for Jennifer as well. The group consists of members from throughout the state. But within the group they have different "specialized units" and most all are professionals from different agencies ... current or retired law enforcement, fire & rescue, EMT's, etc, etc.

From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you all for your efforts keeping my daughter's name "alive" out there in hopes that we get tips and leads to find her and who's involved. You have helped us by giving us the "Gift of Hope" ... God Bless you all and let's pray this weekend brings these searches to an end!

-- Joe Ocasio & Family

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