UPDATE: Runaway balloon saga was hoax - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Runaway balloon saga was hoax

Posted: Updated:
CNN's Larry King Live, Thursday night CNN's Larry King Live, Thursday night

FORT COLLINS, CO (WKOW) -- Sheriff Jim Alderden says Richard and Mayumi Heene "put on a good show for us, and we bought it."

Last Thursday, the Colorado couple reported their 6-year-old son was in a balloon that was hurtling away from their home. Authorities now say it was a publicity stunt.

The sheriff says no charges have been filed yet, and the parents aren't under arrest. He says he expects to recommend charges of conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to authorities and attempting to influence a public servant.

Some of the most serious charges each carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

The sheriff says all three children knew about the hoax, but likely won't face charges because of their ages. The oldest son is 10.


FORT COLLINS, CO (WKOW) -- On Saturday night, the Larimer County Sheriff says he will file charges against one or both parents of the so-called "balloon boy."

He had earlier said it was "inconceivable" that the ordeal was a hoax, but apparently changed his mind after a day of interviews with the parents.

On Saturday, Richard Heene, the father, also told reporters to submit questions in a box in a bizarre press conference he called in front of his house.


The Larimer County Sheriff says the idea that a 6-year-old boy, thought for hours to be stuck in a balloon 7,000 feet above sea level, was coached to hide is "inconceivable."

Sheriff Jim Alderden said Friday there is no indication the Heene family was carrying out a hoax when they reported 6-year-old Falcon missing, possibly floating away in a helium balloon.

Alderden says he thought the boy was responsible for the balloon coming untied and hid because he was afraid of getting into trouble.

Questions were raised about the incident after the boy said "we did it for a show" in a live interview with CNN Thursday night.

Sheriff Alderden now says he hopes to re-interview the family.


FORT COLLINS, Colo. (WKOW) -- A 6-year-old boy, who many thought for hours Thursday had floated away in a homemade weather balloon, slept soundly in his own bed Thursday night.

But many have raised questions over whether the episode was just a stunt put on by the boy's family.

The saga began just after 11:00 a.m. when a helium balloon untethered from the family's Fort Collins home and floated away. Then came word a 6-year-old boy, Falcon Heene, was in the balloon, after his brother told everyone he saw Falcon climb aboard.

Falcon's family called the FAA, who told him to call 911, but by then, the balloon was floating as high as 7,000 feet at 30 miles per hour.

About two-and-a-half hours later, the balloon landed in a field...with no one inside.

Just after 4:00 p.m., Falcon came out of hiding. It turns out, he'd been in a cardboard box in the family's attic the whole time.

Now some are questioning what really happened after a revealing interview on CNN's Larry King Live. When the boy was asked why he did it, the boy said "We did it for the show."

Authorities say there is no evidence this was a prank and Richard Heene, the boy's father, has publicly denied the notion the whole thing was a publicity stunt.

Powered by Frankly