- The Washington Times - Friday, October 16, 2009

Authorities think the ordeal in which a young Colorado boy was thought to be carried away inside a runaway balloon is not a hoax but will interview the child’s family again, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said Friday.

Sheriff Alderden said investigators think the Heene family, of Fort Collins, Colo., is telling the truth based on emotions, body language and non-verbal communications.

“We believe at this time that it was a real event,” the sheriff said during a midday press conference.

The tense, five-hour incident unfolded Thursday afternoon on cable TV before millions of viewers. The mylar, helium-filled balloon apparently broke free from ropes during an experiment in which father Richard Heene attempted to get the balloon to hover at 20 feet.

TWT RELATED STORY: Boy found in attic, not homemade balloon

Mr. Heene then called the FAA, a local TV station with a helicopter, then 911 because he thought 6-year-old son Falcon was on board. The boy was found about five hours later inside a garage attic.

Sheriff Alderden said investigators will interview the family Saturday amid lingering questions such as: Why did Mr. Heene call the TV station before 911 and why did initial reports state that only an older brother of Falcon saw what happened, then videos showed the father with the balloon?

The Heenes appeared last year on the ABC TV series “Wife Swap,” in which the adventurous Mrs. Heene traded places with a Connecticut woman whose family was described as “risk-averse.”

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