The search for the 14-year-old boy who disappeared after leaving his Ohio home just days before Christmas has ended with authorities discovering his body inside the chimney of a vacant Ohio home.
Harley Dilly had been missing since Dec. 20 and was last captured on surveillance footage walking to school that morning.
On Monday, police decided to search a vacant summer home in Port Clinton. Inside, they found Harley’s jacket and glasses before discovering his body trapped in the 9-by-13-inch chimney on the second floor of the home.
Port Clinton Police Chief Robert J. Hickman said there was no foul play involved in teen’s death and that it appeared to be an accident.
When Harley disappeared, police initially said they were treating Harley's case as a runaway, but as time went on, authorities grew more concerned. The FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were all involved in the search.
Earlier in the investigation, police had searched around the home Harley was found in but had no reason to go inside because there were no obvious signs of forced entry. On Monday, however, police were revisiting their first steps of the investigation and found keys in a lockbox outside the home, so they went in.
"It appears Harley climbed ... to the roof and entered the chimney," Hickman explained. "Once in the chimney, Harley’s jacket and glasses were pushed from the chimney through a flue and into the second floor of the house. The chimney was blocked between the second and first floor, which trapped Harley."
In a statement, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said, “We are heartbroken over the outcome but know every effort was made to find Harley. Chief Hickman shouldered the weight of this investigation which has resulted in a tragic loss for the community of Port Clinton. No case is tougher than when a kid goes missing.”