Details of Disappearance
Doherty was last seen in Brevard County, Florida on December 20, 1987. He left Port Canaveral at 6:30 a.m. on a fishing expedition in a 21-foot, gas-powered Chris Craft boat. The captain was John DeGoes, and passengers included Doherty, James Meulemans, and his twelve-year-old son Jamie
. They were meant to be gone for twelve hours and then return by nightfall.
The boat never returned to shore. The body of the captain was found about twelve miles off Daytona Beach, Florida on December 26. James Meulemans's body washed ashore in January. His son and Doherty were never located and neither was any sign of the boat, in spite of an extensive search.
Authorities aren't sure how the boat apparently ran into trouble, as DeGoes was an experienced captain who frequently led fishing trips, and water conditions were not bad on the day they all went missing. The boat had a radio, but never sent out any distress signals. Both Jamie and Doherty are presumed lost at sea.