PORT CLINTON, Ohio (WTVG) - Social media can be one of the best vehicles for getting the word out about a missing person. But it can also be used as a platform for cruelty.
In the case of Harley Dilly's disappearance and death, it's been used for both.
The Port Clinton Police Department used social media to get pictures and a description of Dilly out to the public when he was missing. As a result, members of the community joined in the search efforts to find the teen.
Police also used Facebook to update the public and media about the progress of the investigation.
But residents in Port Clinton say social media has been filled with criticism and condemnation of the police and the family in this case, and many residents say it's left some pretty deep and lasting scars.
Marc Wolfe is a community business leader who helped raise more than $20,000 for the reward fund to find Harley, only to come up against harsh criticism for any efforts to help Harley's family.
"The sadness of all this is the negativity that it brings out in some people, that's what I tried to beat back by trying to raise awareness of what was going on," Wolfe said.
Port Clinton Resident Lisa Radloff said, "It made people feel a lot worse than they should have. It could have been handled better. And people could have been more mature. I get it that they were angry and everybody was really worried about Harley disappearing. It's just really sad that people weren't more empathetic."
The Dilly family has decided to hold a private funeral service for Harley, but members of the public who wish to pay their respects will be able to attend visitation hours on Saturday, January 25th from 11 AM to 3 PM at the Gerner-Wolf-Walker Funeral Home & Crematory in Port Clinton. There will also be a community luncheon at St. John's Lutheran Church in Port Clinton from 11 AM to 4 PM that same day.