PORT CLINTON, Ohio - Authorities said the search for a 14-year-old Ohio boy who went missing last month has ended after his body was found this week in the chimney of a vacant home.
The death of Harley Dilly was believed to be accidental and foul play did not appear to be a factor, police said.
Dilly left for school on the morning of Dec. 20 in Port Clinton but never made it to class. A nationwide search began for the teen, with a reward for information surpassing more than $20,000, WOIO-TV reported.
“This is not the outcome anyone wanted, but thanks to your help and support, we have some closure for the family,” Port Clinton Police Chief Robert Hickman said Tuesday during a news conference.
Hickman said a repeated search of Dilly’s neighborhood led investigators to an abandoned home, where Dilly’s coat and glasses were discovered Monday afternoon on the second floor of the house next to a brick chimney.
“We were then able to discover what we believe to be Harley who was caught in the chimney,” Hickman said.
Authorities said it appeared the teen climbed an antenna tower to the roof, shoved his coat and glasses down a flue and entered the chimney — where he got stuck.
Hickman said the chimney is approximately 9 inches by 13 inches in size.
He added that the house had been previously checked multiple times, and that there was no evidence of forced entry.
No cause of death has been determined. An autopsy was being conducted Tuesday morning.
“This is a tragic outcome of the case, and a tough loss to the community,” Hickman said, who added that his family was notified early Tuesday.
The FBI, U.S. Marshals and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had all joined in the search to locate the missing teen.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.