Balloon boy drama was hoax: police

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said Richard Heene and his Japanese-born wife Mayumi had fabricated Thursday's drama when their six-year-old son Falcon was reported to have flown away on a home-made helium balloon.

Falcon Heene was later discovered alive after hiding in an upstairs attic at the family home for several hours, a bizarre ending to a televised drama that drew immediate suspicions of a hoax.

Alderden revealed at a press conference that the Heene parents had first met during a Hollywood acting class -- and successfully conned officers last Thursday into thinking that they were distraught as the tension mounted.

"Needless to say they put on a very good show for us and we bought it," Alderden told reporters. "These people are actors... We were manipulated by the family and the media were manipulated by the family."

"The plan was to create a situation where it appeared Falcon was in the craft and that his life was in jeopardy in order to gain a lot of publicity with the ultimate goal of gaining some notoriety and perhaps furthering their careers by gaining a contract for a reality TV show," Alderden explained.

"On the bizarre meter, this rates a 10." Alderden also revealed for the first time that Heenes' three sons - aged 10, eight and six - were also in on the scam

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