"We believe [Hataway] did it. He's always been a suspect," Sgt. Mike Bryant of the Ocoee Police Department said Wednesday — almost a year after the 27-year-old Ocoee woman disappeared from a MetroWest sports bar. "He is suspected of killing her."
Charges related to Ocasio are not pending against Hataway at this time.
If Hataway is released, Bryant said officials could press charges to send him back to jail.
"As long as he's in jail, we have time to work our case and continue searching for [Ocasio]," Bryant said.
Ocasio vanished from the Tap Room bar on Raleigh Street in MetroWest after watching an Orlando Magic game on May 27, 2009.
She was seen leaving with Hataway sometime around 1:30 a.m. Hataway told Ocoee police she gave him a ride home and left. Police don't believe him, Bryant said.
Hataway was on the verge of going to trial in April in Seminole in that attempted murder case, but his lawyer won a delay, saying he intends to ask a judge to move that trial out of Central Florida because of all the publicity surrounding the Ocasio case.
It's not clear now when Hataway will go to trial in Seminole. In that case, a woman accuses Hataway of choking her, trying to snap her neck and banging her head into the ground repeatedly after she drove him home from a party then resisted his advances.
She alleges that Hataway attacked her about a year before Ocasio disappeared.
Officers have followed more than 100 tips and performed more than a dozen searches in the Ocasio case.
"The searches have failed because we have not found her," Bryant said.
Ocasio's friends and family attended the hour-long news conference at the Police Department when detectives discussed the case Wednesday.
Friends Courtney Turner, 27, and Taryn Anthony, 26, cried when detectives talked about not being able to find Ocasio.
They wiped away tears and hugged each other.
Ocasio's parents, Liz and Joe, and her younger brother, Joey, also joined the news conference to talk about a search planned for June 5 and 6 in the Ocoee area.
Volunteers are not needed.
"We are re-tracing our steps, and we hope that it will lead us back to our daughter," Joe Ocasio said. "It's like a needle in a hay stack; we don't know where to start."
Her family urged the public to call in any information about where their daughter could be found.
"Even if you don't think it's important, please tell us," Liz Ocasio said. "We just want to get her, bring her home and lay her to rest."
Anyone with information can call Crimeline at 1-800-423-8477.
Walter Pacheco and Rene Stutzman of the Sentinel staff contributed to this article. Bianca Prieto can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-5620.