PORT CLINTON, Ohio (WJW) — It’s been three full weeks since Harley Dilly disappeared but both his family and his community refuse to give up hope.
“We are still waiting to have Christmas with you. We want you to come home, we want you safe,” said his mother Heather Dilly. “Your family misses you, everyone misses you. Your community is looking for you.”
On Saturday, a volunteer-led search began in Port Clinton at Lakeview Park, joining a nationwide effort to find the 14-year-old.
“We had people from not just Port Clinton but all around Ohio who have come out and asked to search and do something to make a difference,” said Megan Lenthe who organized the search.
One volunteer, Angela Pirnstill said, “I woke up and it was just on my heart to help. I’m a mom and this could be any one of us.”
While forecasted storms threatened to change the search date, organizers say enough people wanted to battle the weather, for Harley.
“This is a message of unity that when tragedy strikes, something like this happens, it’s important the community comes together to cover as much area as they possibly can to find that little boy and bring him home,” said Pirnstill.
Organizers say about 150 people showed up and split into groups for the search.
“We covered about 3 miles in 2 hours, about 3 square miles in two hours,” said Pirnstill of her party’s efforts.
Lenthe says keeping Harley’s face out there is just as important as the search.
“We have a bunch of flyers to pass out, updated flyers and so we want to keep circulating Harley’s picture,” she explained.
Harley was last seen on December 20 leaving for school.
His family thanked the volunteers and everyone who has helped to try and bring him home.
“This has been bigger than we had ever imagined. The support and love for our son,” said Heather.
“This community is not going to rest until Harley’s home,” promised Megan.
Lenthe says another volunteer search has not yet been planned, but people have been talking about getting an organized effort back out there if necessary. She added that any tips found during the search have been called into police for them to follow up on.