A 56-year-old Ohio man who ran that state's crime lab died diving offshore Key Largo Wednesday morning, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
Ronald Dye of Grove City, Ohio, was director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation laboratory.
A friend he was diving with told deputies they were about 6 miles offshore and down about 25 minutes when Dye indicated something was wrong and they surfaced. The friend said Dye did not specify a problem, but was low on air.
A crew member from commercial dive boat Tropical Adventures jumped in the water with a rescue buoy and helped the men back to the vessel, reports say. CPR reportedly was started as the boat headed for land. Dye was declared dead shortly afterward at Mariners Hospital.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Dye led the Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab for the past 18 months and was credited with helping to cut the turnaround time for DNA evidence testing there.
Dye worked for more than 30 years at the lab, which helps process evidence from crime scenes. He rose through the ranks and was chosen to lead the lab after a national search, and he was excited to be part of the state's new forensic dive team announced last year, DeWine said Thursday.
"He was a true professional, great guy to work with, very open to innovation," he added.
He described Dye as a quiet, well-liked employee who was easy to work with and known for maintaining high standards at the lab. DeWine said Dye had pushed for the lab to pursue a lengthy accreditation process, and the office learned the day he died that the lab had received accreditation.
Detective Deborah Ryan was assigned to investigate the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.