Port Clinton Police provide update after family of missing 14-year-old boy speaks out, still hopeful for his safe return

Port Clinton Police provide update after family of missing 14-year-old boy speaks out, still hopeful for his safe return
Harley Dilly (Source: Port Clinton Police Department)

PORT CLINTON, Ohio (WOIO) - The Port Clinton Police Department kept their word to provide a daily update to the nationwide search for the 14-year-old boy reported missing from the Port Clinton area.

On Saturday, Port Clinton Police Chief Rob Hickman said the family has fully cooperated from the investigation and wanted to share a message to the public:

Port Clinton Police provide update after family of missing 14-year-old boy speaks out, still hopeful for his safe return

Harley Dilly disappeared from his home more than a week ago on Dec. 20, according to police.

Since his disappearance, K-9 teams and helicopters from both state and federal agencies assisted in a search that has covered more than 100 acres near Dilly’s home on Thursday.

“The main focus here is to get Harley home to mom and dad,” Chief Hickman said.

Hickman said more than 1,500 flyers with Dilly’s photo and information have been distributed. He is urging residents in the community to leave their porch lights on at night to signal that the home is a safe and welcome place to end the search.

“Harley, come home,” Hickman said to conclude Friday’s press conference.

Dilly’s family spoke out about their family member’s disappearance on Friday night, and shared the following message to the Port Clinton Police Department to share:

“We want to thank all the agencies and all the people from the community who have assisted in searching for our son Harley from now and through the holiday season. As you can imagine our family is terribly distraught at this time. This is not the Christmas wish we had hoped for. We pray for the safe return of our son, Harley. Harley if you hear/read this, please come home we missed you, your family miss you. You are not in trouble. We love you. Thank you one and all for the continued effort and work you are doing, and for all your thoughts and prayers. Pray, share, keep your eyes open.”

The police chief said the search for Dilly expanded throughout the United States after receiving tips about the boy’s disappearance from across the country, but he would not comment if Dilly’s case appears to be a kidnapping or if he is considered a runaway juvenile.

According to police, Harley Dilly left for school around 7 a.m. Friday, but never made it.

Police said Dilly was wearing glasses, grey sweatpants, a maroon puffy jacket, and black tennis shoes.

Harley Dilly, 14
Harley Dilly, 14 (Source: WOIO)

Police said if something was not right, Dilly would stay away from home for the night and return the next day.

Chief Hickman shared in a previous press conference that Dilly wasn’t feeling well the day of his disappearance, but his mom still made him go to school.

The chief also said that the department does not believe Dilly was abducted.

Dilly does have a sister out of state, but there was no sign of him when officials checked the house, according to Chief Hickman.

The Port Clinton Police Department shared a surveillance photo of the 14-year-old boy that was captured after his disappearance on Wednesday.

Port Clinton Police share surveillance footage of 14-year-old boy after his Dec. 20 disappearance (Source: Port Clinton Police Department)
Port Clinton Police share surveillance footage of 14-year-old boy after his Dec. 20 disappearance (Source: Port Clinton Police Department) (Source: Port Clinton Police Department)

Police said Dilly’s disappearance was reported to the department at 11:50 p.m. on Saturday, and officers have been observing numerous hours of video from the surrounding community since.

Port Clinton police said Harley is believed to be the person in the following picture that was captured between 6 a.m. - 7 a.m. on Friday in the area between Dilly’s residence on E. 5th Street and the Port Clinton High and Middle School campus.

Just over an hour after sharing the surveillance photo, Port Clinton Police announced the department and Ottawa County Prosecutor James VanEerten is offering a $2000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Dilly.

Police said that the Bikers Against Abused And Neglected Children have contacted them and committed an additional $2,000 for any information leading to the safe return of Dilly.

If anyone has information regarding Dilly’s disappearance, they’re urged to call Port Clinton Police at 419-734-3121.

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