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Coroner: Official cause of death confirmed after missing Ohio 14-year-old Harley Dilly found in chimney





PORT CLINTON, Ohio — Police have reportedly recovered the body of missing 14-year-old Harley Dilly after an hours-long search at a vacant home located near the Dilly residence.

SEE ALSO: Mother of Port Clinton teen Harley Dilly speaks out after he is found dead: He “made a choice”

Port Clinton Police Chief Rob Hickman confirmed in a noon press conference that Harley’s body has been recovered.

His body was found in a chimney, and police say it is believed that he attempted to enter the unoccupied home through the chimney and got stuck.

Hickman added that Harley climbed an antenna in order to enter the chimney.

His glasses and jacket were found outside the flue on the second floor. The chimney was blocked between the second and first floor, which trapped Harley.

Ottawa County Coroner Dan Cadigan, M.D., said in a statement that the cause of death for Harley was determined as compressive asphyxia.

“Final autopsy findings are awaiting toxicology,” Cadigan said in the statement. “Manner of death appears to be accidental at this time but is awaiting completion of law enforcement investigation.”

The chimney is approximately 9 inches by 13 inches in size.

Hickman said the home was locked and investigators had canvassed the home before. There was no sign of forced entry into the home, leading investigators to believe no one was inside during their searches.

Hickman also said the house is a vacation home being remodeled and the owners live out of town.

“This is a tragic outcome to the case, and a tough loss to the community,” Hickman said. “I want to stress that the investigators in this case were many, and the investigation was thorough.”

Harley’s body was taken to the Lucas County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.

SEE ALSO: Mother of Port Clinton teen Harley Dilly speaks out after he is found dead: He “made a choice”

“Right now this is an ongoing investigation,” Hickman said.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost canceled the statewide Endangered Missing Child Advisory for Harley on Tuesday morning, confirming in a press release that Harley has been “recovered.”

“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,” Yost said in a statement.

Port Clinton Schools superintendent Patrick Adkins released this statement: “We are deeply saddened by the news regarding Harley Dilly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Dilly family. Additional counselors are on site at Port Clinton High School today for both students and staff. At this time we are focusing our attention on our students and staff and will not be conducting any interviews. We ask that you please respect our request while our school community copes with this tragedy.”

Authorities arrived on-scene at the home, located near the intersection of Fulton St. and East 5th St. in Port Clinton, Monday evening around 7 p.m. and were still there as of early Tuesday morning.

The Port Clinton Police Department and Ohio BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation) were among the agencies that have responded.

Evidence was collected from the scene.

The Dilly home is located in the 500 block of East 5th Street, near Fulton Street.

More than three weeks have passed since Dilly was reported missing.

RELATED: Videos from missing 14-year-old Ohio boy Harley Dilly cause concern

RELATED: Expert speaks out, provides new information after body of 14-year-old Harley Dilly is found in chimney

Harley was an avid user of social media, and he posted a slew of Madden gaming videos online, among others, as he sought YouTube stardom; this is raising concern, as the teenager even posted his phone number with one video.

Harley was last seen leaving for school on Friday, December 20 just before 7 a.m., according to Port Clinton Police.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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  1. Avatar


    Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 10:58 am

    How did the police know about checking out the chimney to this house Somebody thought gosh I think I’ll climb up on this house & look down this chimney??

    • Avatar


      Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 6:47 am

      Perhaps someone spotted his jacket on the roof. A maroon colored puffy vest would be fairly noticeable.

  2. Avatar

    L. Pastor

    Monday, January 20, 2020 at 5:00 am

    There was concern that he put his phone number on social media, yet the news media reports the location of his home!

  3. Avatar

    roxanne berres

    Monday, January 20, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Also u dont know if some evil big person put him in there if he has no backtound in thieving or entering home look at how could he of thought to do that hard to believe theres evil despicable people out there that want to hurt innocent children this may turn out different then u think and as a mother i would alsways wonder if my kid was ok never for anyonre to think bad or depth on a chid for making a stupid mistake no one deserves to die even if he was breaking and entering his brain is developed till he is an adult no one is perfect jids horse around ,shit i jumped trains firepits ive done stupid things myself,i pray the investigator relly find what happenedd.

  4. Avatar


    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 2:30 am

    I need to know how they knew to check the chimney, was there an anonymous tip or did they just start checking every way to enter a house because they were desperate? It seems suspicious to me.

  5. Avatar


    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 6:54 am

    Well it was Christmas time, and depending on his mental capabilities, perhaps he got the idea from watching movies about Santa Clause going down chimneys?

  6. Avatar

    Eva Maria Carter

    Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    I am not an investigator, but if the police looked at the house and saw no forced entry and walked away (I think this is total incompetence.)

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