Sunday, October 18, 2009

Balloon Boy Hoax Press Conference

I watched the press conference on CNN with the Sheriff's office regarding the Falcon Heene family "balloon boy" incident. Sheriff Jim Alderden of Larimer County, Colorado, says his office has concluded that the "balloon boy" incident was a "hoax."
It was carried out by a couple who met "in acting school in Hollywood" and "put on a very good show for us," said Sheriff Jim Alderden of Larimer County. Authorities know there was "a conspiracy" between Richard and Mayumi Heene, he said.

"It has been determined that this is a hoax," he said. "We believe we have evidence at this point that it was a publicity stunt." (CNN)

While the office hasn't filed charges yet, it is considering presenting the local D.A. with four charges, at least two of which are felony charges--contributing to the delinquency of a minor and attempting to influence a public servant. They are looking at conspiracy and filing a false report charges as well.

Child Protective Services will also be investigating the family, the Sheriff said. Furthermore, there's some indication based on old 911 phone calls that Heene may have allegedly abused his wife, and so the police suggested she go to a domestic violence shelter; however she declined.

The sheriff also said the police were a little skeptical of Heene early on, and he apologized for misleading the media that the police bought Heene's story fully, but his office had to maintain trust with the family. He further said that he knows this is not really an important story, and he won't give more interviews until after the D.A.'s case is nailed down, unless Fox News's Bill O'Reilly asks him.

Gawker has a story from Robert Thomas, 25, a man who says helped the father, Richard Heene, plan a balloon hoax, but the hoax they discussed did not involve Falcon, the family's six-year-old. He describes Richard Heene as a man obsessed with regaining the fame he experienced from appearances on the ABC reality show Wife Swap.

ABC said it had been discussing a different reality series with Heene, but those discussions are now closed. According to Sheriff Alderman, another TV show has contacted Heene and so his alleged hoax may pay off for him. However, if it does, he may not see as much money as he hoped since he involved three different law enforcement agencies in searching for first a living boy and then a boy's body, and none of it was true.

It's been reported that Heene was pitching a Mythbusters-like para-science reality show. He planned a UFO balloon hoax to gain attention. When he decided to use Falcon and involve his children is unclear, but the sheriff's office says the alleged hoax was planned weeks ago and the children had "guilty knowledge." Due to Colorado laws, Alderman said he's not allowed to tell if the family took and passed or failed lie detector tests or if his office obtained a confession.

Some people in the world were already suspicious of the story that Falcon was missing and possibly in the flying saucer balloon racing across the sky last week. When the family appeared on CNN with Wolf Blitzer after Falcon had "been found" and Falcon answered why he didn't come out of the garage attic where he was supposedly hiding when he heard people looking for him, the child said, "You guys said we did this for the show." And so, everything kind of blew up in Heene's face after that.

This whole story sucks big time. What would be worse at this point, that the family made it all up or that the media and the world are misinterpreting what six-year-old Falcon said to Wolf Blitzer? Just for the record, as soon as I heard Wife Swap, I thought it was a publicity stunt.

Related: A USA Today story on the hoax.


coco2 said...

I have no idea if this was a hoax or not, but people shouldn't take the comment from the 6 year old as the truth. I work with 21, 6 year olds every day, and I can tell you that they sometimes mix up things that were said or mix up things that happened. If it was a hoax, they should be charged, and I wouldn't doubt if children services gets involved.

msladyDeborah said...

This is like a beginning of a reality show in my opinion. If this family ends up having to pay back the 2 million for the search, they are going to need a show just to pay the bills.

Vérité Parlant said...

Yep, Deborah. I can see it now, "Watch the new show Help Me Earn $2 Million."

Marvalus said...

This whole thing was ridiculous. I'm glad I missed most of the news about this balloon flying over Colorado...

Unknown said...

i didn't think this was a hoax until i saw the video of the father launching the balloon. he told the cops that 1) he was inside the house when it was launched and 2) there was a basket under the balloon at the time of the launch. both are shown in the video to be not true. they should get every charge that the law can find for them. they tied up multiple law enforcement and emergency response people for hours on a lie, they even got the national guard and norad involved. what would have happened if all those people where needed for a REAL emergency? i say throw the book at the parents and get the kids out of there, they are not safe there.

SyndicatedNews.NET said...

After having watched Richard Heene's behavior on "wife swap" where he lost his composure repeatedly and literally threw food at the wife he was supposed to spend the week with, I suspect his wife is afraid of him too.

And if you listen to people that have known him, lived near him or worked with him, I do not think his wife has any authority in the home. I think she spends most of her time avoiding his violent streak.

I believe she is afraid of Richard and she is accustomed to letting him have his way to avoid violence. By example, she has taught the children to do whatever Richard Heene wants because while they love him, they are afraid of him as well.