Boy, 14, found dead ‘behind wall in vacant home near house’ after 3-week search
The body of a 14-year-old boy has been found behind a wall in an empty property almost a month after a search mission was launched to find him.
Police believe Harley Dilly may have got stuck in a 9-inch by 13-inch chimney flue after the shocking discovery was made in a property just across the road.
The discovery raises the possibility that he either starved, suffocated or froze to death in the tiny chimney space over Christmas, while his family, friends and emergency services searched for him.
Mystery surrounded the disappearance of Harley, who was last seen leaving his house in Ohio in the snow on December 20.
There had been no trace of the teen since he failed to turn up for school and the search became a nationwide effort with the FBI and US Marshalls joining in the hunt.
It was early Tuesday morning when Harley's body was found in the empty property across the street, which is reportedly used as a vacation lodging, police told Fox 8 .
A seven hour search of the empty property took place on Monday night before the grisly discovery.
Officers had planned to then search nearby landfills after an ambulance was seen leaving the property at 2.30am, police said, and went on to comb 150 acres around the property.
ABC 10 had reported that police found a sledgehammer at the property and collected bags of potential evidence.
The news station reported police told them the "child has been recovered." Harley's jacket and glasses were said to have been found in a second-floor of the empty house.
Harley had been caught on CCTV on the morning of his disappearance. Footage showed him crossing the street in front of his house in Port Clinton. He was only wearing thin sweater, sweatpants, and a thin puffer coat.
Police told local media that this suggested "he wasn't planning on being outside for an extended amount of time."
Detective Ronald Timmons of the Port Clinton Police Department had told reporters last Monday that Harley's mobile phone was broken and he was going to meet with "somebody we haven't identified yet."
Harley was said to have a big presence on social media, across several accounts, including Facebook , Instagram , Reddit, and YouTube.
However, in a press conference this afternoon, police revealed they now suspect Harley's death was an accident and he may have climbed an antenna tower to get onto the roof, before squeezing into a 9-inch by 13-inch chimney flue, before becoming stuck.
Port Clinton Police Chief Robert Hickman told a press conference he did not suspect foul play. He said the chimney had been blocked between the first and second floors and Harley was trapped.
Harley's coat and glasses somehow ended up out of the flue and into the house. It was this discovery which led police to his remains.
Mr Hickman said police had not previously searched the property because there was no sign that anyone had forced their way into it.
Part of a wall has now been removed from the property.
An autopsy has been scheduled for today.
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