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Authorities: ‘Balloon boy’ incident was a hoax


Three days after the world watched a giant balloon fly through the air as a tearful family expressed fears that their 6-year-old boy could be inside, authorities announced what millions already suspected: The whole thing was staged.

The “Aha!” moment that led authorities to realize what had happened was an interview with the family Thursday night on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” Sheriff Jim Alderden of Larimer County said Sunday. In the interview with Wolf Blitzer, filling in for King, the Heenes asked their son why he had not come out from hiding when they called his name.

“You guys said we did this for the show,” the boy responded.

On Sunday, Alderden called the incident a “hoax,” adding that investigators believe the evidence indicates that “it was a publicity stunt” by the family in hopes of “better marketing themselves for a reality television show at some point in the future.”

The parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, met in a Hollywood acting school and “put on a very good show for us,” Alderden said. Authorities know there was “a conspiracy” between them, he added.


He said charges are expected to be filed in the case.

The couple’s attorney told CNN affiliate KMGH that he hasn’t seen any evidence beyond “speculation,” but the Heenes would turn themselves in if charges are filed.

“All I’m saying if you’ve got some reason to arrest him, let me know, he’ll turn himself in,” said Denver attorney David Lane referring to Richard Heene. “If you got the goods, just tell me.”

The sheriff said investigators also want to interview 25-year-old researcher Robert Thomas who worked with Richard Heene for about two months this past spring. Thomas was paid by — a popular gossip site — to write about his experience with Heene for a story published on Saturday.

October 19, 2009 - Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Honestly..the mother an father deserve about 3-5 years in jail and at least a 2 million dollar fine. Their children should be placed in foster homes and they should be given only limited supervised visitation when they get out of prison. This was a disgusting act that could have cost many people their lives. I hope these two lose everything they have, and they are proven unfit to be parents.

    Comment by Ed | October 19, 2009 | Reply

  2. The police should handle this case with care. The father has led everyone to believe that he is a meteorologist when in fact he only has a high school education. He probably has some deep seeded grandiose desires for attention. I don’t even think money is the real need here. I think he just needs the attention and respect as a meteorologist. When you go to a prison, the first thing you hear from prisoners is their desire for “respect”. They are in jail for murder, armed robbery, pedophilia and other terrible things, and yet, they still desire respect from everyone around them. It is the most important thing in the world to them and it is the cause of 99% of all of the prison fights that occur. It is all they ever think about. They are the least deserving of it and the most consumed about receiving it. It is a sickness.

    Comment by james | October 19, 2009 | Reply

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