Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Underwater Forensics

Aquatic Asphyxia

Jeff Doland, 45, entered into chat room discussions with a person he believed to be a mother of two girls, ages 9 and 12. They talked for a few months, and this married man and stepfather of two sent his correspondent pictures of children being tortured. He also described his ultimate sexual fantasy watching young girls being submerged underwater, struggling for air until they passed out. He was aroused by the bubbles rising to the surface.

Jeff Doland
Jeff Doland

Since she supposedly had two children, he offered to pay her $550 for the opportunity to fulfill his fantasy in real life. She agreed, and they set a date. Then in July 2007, he packed up his scuba gear, told his wife he was going scuba-diving, and boarded a plane bound for Miami.

However, Doland's correspondent had not been the mother of two but an undercover agent for the Secret Service. When he arrived in Miami, he told his plan to another undercover agent, and the Child Predator CyberCrime Unit, along with the Miami-Dade police, moved in to make an arrest.

Doland was charged with the selling or buying of minors, a first-degree felony, and with promoting the sexual performance of a child. The Ohio school district for which he had worked cut all ties with him, and administrators assured worried parents that he'd had no direct contact with children.

While authorities labeled Dolan's type of fantasy an unusual case of sado-masochistic child abuse, it's actually closer to aquatic erotic asphyxial fantasies. For some, this involves autoerotic activity underwater, and for others, attacks on other people for the pleasure of experiencing their underwater struggles.

While Doland's targets never existed, they could have, and, while he was caught, authorities can only speculate how many others may have managed to broker and complete such bargains. Underwater fetishes can take many shocking forms.


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