Harley Dilly missing Port Clinton Ohio teen found dead stuck inside chimney of vacant house near family home. A troubled boy who sought escape.
An Ohio teen missing for more than three weeks has been found dead after getting ‘trapped’ inside the chimney of a vacant house across the street from his home.
Harley Dilly, 14, of Port Clinton, went missing December 20 and was discovered dead Monday after police decided to search a summer home that was under renovation across the street from the boy’s family home.
They found his jacket on the second floor and his glasses next to the brick chimney which police said ‘is between the second and third floors and is 9 by 13 inches’.
Investigators believe Dilly’s death was accidental and are awaiting the results of an autopsy being conducted today by the Lucas County Coroner’s Office the Akron Beacon Journal reports.
Port Clinton find the body of 14-year-old Harley Dilly in the chimney of this house. It’s believed to be an accident. Police say he climbed in the house to hide and got stuck pic.twitter.com/wym94R3ON5
— Melissa Voetsch (@MelissaVoetsch) January 14, 2020
Looking for somewhere to hide:
Harley was last seen on Friday, Dec. 20 between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., walking to school wearing a maroon puffer jacket. Video footage (see lead image) captured the boy leaving home.
Police believe the 4ft 9in, 100lb teen walked across the street from the family home where he ‘climbed an antenna tower to the roof and entered the chimney’, of a vacant home.
His personal items appeared to be pushed through a flue (duct) on the second floor however a blockage between the first and second levels served to trap the unwitting youth.
Authorities used a drone to look inside the chimney and ‘were seen removing a portion of the home’s wall’.
‘The house had previously been checked multiple times … We had no reason to believe anyone was in the house,’ Police Chief Robert Hickman explained during a Tuesday noon news conference. ‘This is not the outcome anyone wanted.’
The house in Port Clinton, east of Cleveland, is owned by another family and had a lock box and deadbolt.
‘There is no evidence of forced entry. There was a lock box, doors were secured,’ the police chief said. ‘Since there is a lockbox and anyone can go in and out of the house, we went inside to check the house’.
‘We were then able to discover what we believe to be Harley, who was caught in the chimney. His family was notified early this morning, and this appears to be an accident.’
HARLEY DILLY UPDATE: Port Clinton PD says they believe 14yo Harley Dilly climbed an antenna tower and fell into the chimney getting trapped between the first & second floors of the unoccupied home. His body, jacket and glasses were found yesterday at 4:10pm. pic.twitter.com/5wTL9qiZ0Z
— Meg Shaw (@MegDShaw) January 14, 2020
The day Dilly went missing it was a chilly 18 Fahrenheit degrees and he was only wearing a thin sweatshirt underneath the padded coat when he was seen on video leaving for class at 6.08am investigators said.
His disappearance was reported the day after he never made it to school.
‘At this time, there does not appear to be any foul play expected,’ the police chief continued. ‘No cause of death has been determined. An autopsy is being conducted.’
The Ohio Attorney General’s office canceled an Amber Alert Tuesday, stating the ‘child has been recovered’.
My heart hurts for Harley Dilly 💔
I still have so many questions.
Was that chimney checked during previous searches?
Was he there the entire time?
Was it truly an accident?
How did his coat come off if he was stuck?
Rest In Peace young one🙏
— Morgan Grace (@morgangrace7) January 14, 2020
Troubled life at home? Seeking escape?
Authorities first thought Dilly may have run away from home, because he sometimes spends a night away from home if he gets upset.
Volunteers and authorities searched through neighborhoods in the city along Lake Erie with help from K-9 teams and helicopters.
Police also had asked residents to review their home security footage, hoping that might offer clues about what happened.
They said early on in the investigation that there was no evidence to suggest Harley was abducted but hadn’t ruled that out.
This Harley Dilly case is weighing heavy on my heart. I swear his parents are guilty and it makes me sick to my stomach.
The inner mom in me is triggered, HOW could anyone hurt their own child????
— 𝙷𝚎𝚒𝚍𝚜 ❊ ❃ ❋ ❁ (@yergirlheidi) January 14, 2020
Family issues at family home:
The boy’s disappearance came about a month after police were called to Harley’s family home after receiving reports of a ‘family issue’.
Officers who responded to the home had to calm the boy down but gave no additional information about the incident.
Detectives told Live PD on A&E that Harley had a strict schedule for eating foods, he bathed several times a day and often stayed around his home.
They said the teen’s cellphone was broken when he left his home.
His social media accounts – including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Reddit – had not been active since he disappeared. A regard of Dilly’s YouTube channel revealed seemingly disturbing posts, including one video (see video directly above) that hinted at family discord and his imminent demise.
Hickman previously said Harley’s family has fully cooperated throughout the investigation and quashed suggestions that they were involved in his disappearance.
His family previously released a statement saying: ‘We want to thank all the agencies and all the people from the community who have assisted in searching for our son Harley from now and through the holiday season.’
Come Tuesday, the teen boy’s sister Ashlyn Dilly, posted on Facebook: ‘R.I.H. Harley Dilly and fly high, confirmed by the PD both out there and here in my town.’
The post led to over 2000 comments, with most commiserating the sibling for the loss. Commentators also took to defending the missing boy’s family who over recent weeks had come under assault, scrutiny and suspicion.
Responded one commentator: ‘I’m so very sorry for your loss. No one knows the heartache you must feel. And to all those tearing down this family, I hope you never have to go through this with your child and people treat you like this. You just can’t wait to kick people while they’re down huh?! I’m sure this family feels nothing but regrets and heartache.’
While another posted, ‘Sorry Ashlyn😭😢 Now all of the ILL rumors can stop about this family, let them grieve in peace.’