The Larimer County Sheriff, Jim Alderden, told media this afternoon that the Heene family made up the entire story of their son Falcon being whisked away in a silvery balloon for the sake of a publicity stunt.
“We have since learned as many of you have that these people are actors. They put on a very good show for us,” said Sheriff Alderden. He also explained the balloon would not have been capable of lifting a 37 pound boy into the air. Police say they found evidence in the Heene household, which further shows how the elaborate hoax was put together.
The Fort Collins, Colorado Heene family constructed the gigantic hot air balloon, which caught the eyes of millions all from over the world, when Richard Heene told police and media the ballon launched accidentally along with his six-year old son Falcon. However, after landing, the balloon was empty and Falcon eventually appeared from the family garage.
Questions about the veracity of Mr. Heene’s balloon story began to arise when his background of participating in the reality show Wife Swap and taking his children storm chasing with him came to light.
The hoax crumbled further after the family was interviewed on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Falcon lifted the curtain to the charade before his parents were ready, saying “we did this for a show.”
The sheriff said charges are likely to be filed including: conspiracy, contributing to delinquency of minor and filing a false report. However, he said authorities would have to bring forth a criminal case before trying to get back restitution costs for the money spent to rescue the boy.
The Associated Press reports this effort involved military helicopters, a ground rescue and even a mounted posse. Officials also rerouted planes around the balloon’s flight path and briefly shut down Denver International Airport.