PORT CLINTON, Ohio (WJW) — The owners of the vacant home where missing 14-year-old Ohio boy Harley Dilly’s body was discovered say they are devastated.
The family, like so many others in the community, was following the search for the missing Port Clinton teenager. They said they never imagined he would be found inside their chimney.
“Our family is heartbroken over this. Not just because it was in our house, but because of the – the outcome is not what everyone hoped for,” said Jim, who asked WJW not to use his last name.
His parents own the Port Clinton home where Dilly’s body was discovered inside a chimney Monday evening, across the street from where he lived.
The owners, who are in their 80s, live in Avon, about 60 miles away.
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the Dilly family and the whole Port Clinton area,” Jim said.
The home has belonged to his family since it was built in 1852, but no one has lived in it full-time for many years, Jim said. The family occasionally uses it as a weekend vacation home during the summer and it was under renovation. He said no one had been inside since mid-November.
“I was quite confident that there was no way anybody got in that house or they would have been able to tell because it was pretty secure,” he said.
Jim said he and his parents were stunned when Port Clinton police called Monday, asking for keys to get inside and information about the home’s layout and renovation details.
He said it would be extremely difficult to enter the home through the chimney as police believe Harley tried to do.
“There was no openings in that chimney other than, like eight-inch diameter openings in different places throughout. You know, on the first floor and the second floor for a stovepipe to go into it,” said Jim.
He added that the home does not have a fireplace.
“The chimney hasn’t been used in years, so there used to be a gas stove that went into it and there’s been nothing since,” Jim said.
Jim said his family’s future plans for the house are uncertain. Right now they are focused on Harley and his family.
“What we’re gonna do with the house is, you know, the furthest thing from what we’re thinking right now,” he said.
The family who owns the home said they did not have plans to return to it until the early part of the spring.
Although the home is across the street, Jim said the family did not know Harley or the Dilly family.