Multiple media sources are reporting that charges are pending in the case of Richard and Mayumi Heene, whose son Falcon was the so-called ‘balloon boy’ who millions believed was aboard a helium balloon that reportedly had taken off with the boy inside.
A Colorado sheriff said he was pursuing criminal charges in the case of a 6-year-old boy who vanished into the rafters of his garage while the world thought he was zooming through the sky in a flying saucer-like helium balloon.
The boy’s parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, met with Larimer County investigators for much of the afternoon, but Sheriff Jim Alderden didn’t say who would be charged or what the charges would be.
Alderden didn’t call Thursday’s hours-long drama a hoax, but he expressed disappointment that he couldn’t level more serious charges in the incident, which sent police and the military scrambling to save young Falcon Heene as millions of worried television viewers watched.
“We were looking at Class 3 misdemeanor, which hardly seems serious enough given the circumstances,” Alderden said. “We are talking to the district attorney, federal officials to see if perhaps there aren’t additional federal charges that are appropriate in this circumstance.”
He said deputies were seeking a search warrant for the family’s home, and there would be more information at a news conference Sunday.
Other media sources are essentially running the same article from the Associated Press.
And then there’s this “exclusive” from Gawker: Exclusive: I Helped Richard Heene Plan a Balloon Hoax. In the article, 25-year-old researcher Robert Thomas reveals to Gawker how earlier this year he and Richard Heene drew up a master plan to generate a massive media controversy using a weather balloon. From the article:
One night, when Richard and I were sitting and talking, he brought up Wife Swap, and specifically a confrontation he had with a woman on the show who claimed to be a psychic. They very much disliked one other. Richard said, “Well, think about it. We were the 100th episode of Wife Swap. And why are we the most recognized Wife Swap family and episode? It’s because of the controversy. I don’t care what people say about me as a person, but the fact of the matter is that they know who I am.”
And then we delved into the area of UFOs. I was reading a book on witness reports of Roswell at the time, just out of curiousity — I’ve never concluded whether it really took place or was an elaborate hoax. And Richard said, “how much do you want to bet we could facilitate some sort of a media stunt that would be equally profound as Roswell, and we could do so with nothing more than a weather balloon and some controversy?”
Read more here, or you can get a bullet-point summary of Robert Thomas’ accusations here.