You are not connected. Please login or register

View previous topic View next topic Go down  Message [Page 1 of 1]

1 No Hoax Family says on Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:22 pm



Sheriff: No indication balloon ordeal was hoax
Boy hints he hid out in attic ‘for a show’; dad tells TODAY it wasn't stunt

Did 'balloon boy' take us for a ride?
Oct. 16; Colorado officials said Friday they’ll investigate the family of the "balloon boy" after a series of bizarre TV interviews and home videos raised questions about whether Thursday's wild ride was in fact a hoax. NBC's Lee Cowan reports.

More video
Did 'balloon boy' take us for a ride?
Oct. 16; Colorado officials said Friday they’ll investigate the family of the "balloon boy" after a series of bizarre TV interviews and home videos raised questions about whether Thursday's wild ride was in fact a hoax. NBC's Lee Cowan reports.
How do women in the workforce affect society?
Sheriff: We will investigate hoax possibility
New video shows balloon liftoff
Was it a stunt? Balloon boy’s family speaks out

updated 2:52 p.m. PT, Fri., Oct . 16, 2009

FORT COLLINS. Colo. - A Colorado official said Friday there's no indication a family was carrying out a hoax when they reported their 6-year-old son was in a helium balloon that floated away from their home, causing a massive rescue effort before the child was found hiding in the garage.

"We believe at this time that it was a real event. Certainly people are free to speculate," Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said. He added that if the episode "turns out to be a hoax, we will seek restitution by whatever means we have available."

Falcon Heene vanished Thursday around the time his family's homemade helium balloon floated away from their home, setting off a frantic search as authorities scoured the plains of northern Colorado for the youngster.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

Questions were raised about the incident after the boy said "we did this for a show" in a live interview with CNN. The boys' parents are storm chasers who appeared in the ABC reality show "Wife Swap."

The boy's father, Richard Heene, called accusations that the ordeal was a publicity stunt "extremely pathetic."

The sheriff acknowledged that Falcon's comments had clearly "raised everybody's level of skepticism, but that investigators had no reason to believe the balloon odyssey was a hoax.

"It seems much more likely that the boy was frightened because he saw that he was responsible for this device becoming untethered," Alderden said.

The sheriff said they'll interview the family again on Saturday to ask about the boy's comments. He said that because of the "magnitude" of the event, the sheriff's office have contacted social workers, but have asked them not to talk to the Heenes until they've talked to authorities again.

If it was determined the ordeal was a hoax, the parents could be charged with making a false report to authorities, a low-level misdemeanor, Alderden said.

While the balloon floated 50 miles over two counties, the boy was hiding in an attic space above the garage, though not in a cardboard box as officials originally reported, Alderden said. He was found five hours after the oldest of three sons reported that Falcon, the youngest, had climbed into the saucer-shaped balloon.

Was it a stunt? Balloon boy’s family speaks out
Oct. 16: Falcon Heene, 6, was found in his family’s attic hours after the world watched a homemade balloon, believed to be carrying the boy, crash to the ground. Was the entire saga a hoax? In a TODAY exclusive, the Heene family talks with TODAY’s Meredith Vieira.

Deputies who searched the home "just didn't think it was possible that 6-year-old boy would be able to get up to that space so they didn't look there," Alderden said.

While the balloon was in the air, the sheriff's department reached out to a university professor who determined that a balloon of that size would support a child the size of Falcon, Alderden said. They were told the balloon could likely handle a payload of about 80 pounds; the child weighed about 37 pounds.

The balloon was designed to hover about 50 to 100 feet from the ground, but it broke loose from its tether, setting off a search that included military helicopters and a plan to either lower a person to the craft or place weights on the balloon to bring it down. Officials rerouted planes around the balloon's flight path and briefly shut down Denver International Airport.

Click for related content
TODAY vote: Do you believe family thought boy was in runaway balloon?
Balloon owners: Unusual family with scientific interests

Heene said the family was tinkering with the balloon Thursday and that he scolded Falcon for getting inside a compartment on the craft.

Follow @msnbc_breaking on Twitter. Click here.
"I was in the attic and he scared me because he yelled at me," Falcon said, referring to his father. "That's why I went in the attic."

Richard Heene and his family made the rounds on all three television networks on Friday, and the boy at the center of the saga got sick twice when he and his father were asked during separate interviews what he meant when he said that "we did this for a show."

During an ABC interview on Friday Falcon was asked why he said he was hiding "for a show," at which point he said: "Mom, I feel like I'm going to vomit." He then left the room with his mother and could be heard gagging.

During a live interview on NBC's "Today" that aired simultaneously, Falcon threw up into a container when his father was answering the same question.

Some people who know the family said the family, especially the father, thrived on publicity and chaos.
CONTINUED : Man of big ideas and living on the edge
Big ideas
Barb Slusser of Fort Collins worked with Richard Heene on a show called, "The Science Detectives," which Heene described on his MySpace page as a documentary series "to investigate the mysteries of science." She said she stopped working with him after becoming concerned about his off-the-wall antics and attempts to get media attention for the program.

While Slusser stops short of calling Thursday's balloon odyssey a hoax, she said she wouldn't rule it out.

"Basically, what I'm saying, knowing Richard, there's always a possibility that this was done for publicity," she said.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

Headshot photographer Carrie Cavalier, 53, of Burbank, Calif., paints a picture of a man with big ideas who lived in chaos.

She did headshots for Heene, an aspiring actor at the time, and said the Heene family rented a one-story Burbank house from her from June 2006 until June 2007. But when she evicted them because they hadn't paid a security deposit and let the house deteriorate, they picked up and left without notice, leaving behind a home in disarray, she said.

"Mostly, the whole house was infested with cockroaches. There was dog poop all over the backyard," she said.

Cavalier said she was spooked by Richard Heene.

"He was pretty much controlling them and involving them in all the activities he did," she said of Heene and his children.

Click for related content
TODAY vote: Do you believe family thought boy was in runaway balloon?
Balloon owners: Unusual family with scientific interests

Storm chaser
Richard Heene is an amateur scientist, according to a 2007 Denver Post article on weather chasers. He joined another man, Scott Stevens, to form a Fort Collins-based weather-research team they called The Psyience Detectives.

In the newspaper article, Heene described becoming a storm chaser after a tornado ripped off a roof where he was working as a contractor and said he once flew a plane around Hurricane Wilma's perimeter in 2005.

Pursuing bad weather was a family activity with the children coming along as the father sought evidence to prove his theory that rotating storms create their own magnetic fields.

Although Richard said he has no specialized training, they had a computer tracking system in their car and a special motorcycle.

Richard and Mayumi Heene with their sons, Bradford, Ryo and Falcon in the middle.
The Heene family also appeared twice in the ABC reality show “Wife Swap," most recently in February. On the show, they were portrayed as alien buffs who are obsessed with science.

"When the Heene family aren't chasing storms, they devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm," according to ABC's description of the episode.

911 calls
In February, a Colorado sheriff's deputy responded to a 911 hang-up at the home.

The Larimer County Sheriff's deputy who went to the home said he heard a man yelling and, once inside, noticed Mayumi Heene had a mark on her cheek and broken blood vessels in her eye. She said it was because of a problem with her contacts.

Richard Heene said he was yelling because his children stayed up past their bedtime.

The deputy concluded he didn't have probable cause to make an arrest, but believed a physical altercation may have occurred. No charges were filed.

It was one of three 911 calls made from the home within the past year, but the only one in which a report was filed.

View previous topic View next topic Back to top  Message [Page 1 of 1]

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum