Charges soon in 'balloon boy' saga

Falcons father Richard Heene denies allegations

The boy’s parents, Richard Heene and Mayumi, met Larimer County investigators for much of Saturday afternoon amid lingering questions about whether he (Heene) perpetrated a publicity stunt when his six-year-old son Falcon vanished into the rafters of his garage while the world thought he was zooming through the sky in a flying saucer-like helium balloon.

But Sheriff Jim Alderden did not say who would be charged or what the charges would be. His deputies later showed up at the Heene’s Fort Collins home with a search warrant and at least three of them began a search. Sgt Ian Stewart declined so say what they were after.

Alderden did not 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 as millions of worried television viewers watched.

Suspicion that the balloon saga was a hoax arose almost immediately after Falcon was found hiding in a cardboard box. Heene, a storm chaser and inventor whose family has appeared on the reality show ‘Wife Swap’, and his wife had said one of the boy’s older brothers had said Falcon was aboard the homemade balloon when it took off.

Bizarre appearance

Meanwhile, Richard Heene  on Saturday denied it was a hoax in a bizarre appearance before reporters camped outside his home.

Richard had told reporters he planned a “big announcement”. But the eccentric amateur scientist instead emerged from his Fort Collins house carrying a cardboard box which he asked reporters to put written questions for his consideration.

He brushed off shouted questions from journalists apart from one which asked him to confirm “once and for all” if the balloon drama had been a hoax.

“Absolutely no hoax, I want your questions in a box and I’ll get right back to you, okay?” Heene said before returning inside his house.

Skepticism about the saga was fuelled late on Thursday when Falcon Heene said during a CNN interview that he had not come out of his hiding place during the drama because “you guys said that we did this for the show”.

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