It started with a helium aircraft hovering over Fort Collins, Colorado and the belief that a 6-year-old boy climbed
in and floated away Thursday, October 15,
forcing officials to come up with a rescue plan to save him. Update at 3:35 p.m. ET: The balloon slowly spun to a crash-landing, surrounded by rescuers. Mystery widens, no one was inside balloon? It was at this time we learned that the father was a stormchaser, thus
the balloon, and the family was involved in ABC's "Wife Swap," thus the
reason for part of the craziness that unfolded. But the story didn't end there. The rest is only something that could make up a real-time Reality Show! Was it Truth or Hot Air? Or Balloonacy?
Fort Collins Colorado Map5:35 PM ET UPDATE: A troubling twist in the search for 6-year-old Falcon Heene, thought to
have floated away in his father's homemade balloon near Denver: He may
have crawled into a box attached to the bottom of the balloon before it
accidentally lifted off from his family's back yard. That box wasn't
attached to the craft when it touched down about 3:30pm, raising fears
that it fell off during the nearly 3-hour-long flight, reports the AP.
6:00PM ET UPDATE: During a news conference, Larimer County authorities
announced that Heene was alive and well. He had apparently been hiding
inside a cardboard box in the attic of the family's garage.
6:01 PM ET UPDATE: The good ole' capitalistic society we live in swooped down to cash in on Falcon's faux-flight of fancy souvenir T-shirts! Only in America, folks! ***get 'em while they're hot!****
October 16- One day later, after the Wolf Blitzer interview
on CNN with the Keenes family, skepticism has surfaced questioning if
this was simply a publicity stunt or a hoax staged by Richard, the
father. When Blitzer asked why Falcon didn't appear when he heard his
family calling for him, the following exchange planted the first seeds of doubt.
"Why didn't you come out?" his father asked.
And Falcon answered, "You had said" — pausing here — "that we did this for a show."
For a show? Did the little boy — we can all pause here — know what he was saying?
When Blitzer asked what Falcon meant, Heene, fumbling for an answer,
said he was "appalled" by the implication anything had been staged.
October 18 - The sheriff of Larimer County, Colo., said late Saturday that charges
will be filed in the case of the 6-year-old boy who vanished into the
rafters of his garage for five hours while the world thought he was
zooming through the sky in a flying-saucer-like helium balloon.
Presently considered a misdemeanor, but Federal charges are being considered as well.
October 19- Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said at an extraordinarily candid news conference that the boy, Falcon Heene, may not have even been hiding in the rafters of the family's garage during the intensive five-hour search for him. "For all we know he may have been two blocks down the road
playing on the swing in the city park," the sheriff said. Alderden said
the parents Richard and Mayumi Heene "put on a very good show for us,
and we bought it."
sheriff said no charges had been filed yet, and the parents weren't
under arrest. He said he expected to recommend charges of conspiracy,
contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to
authorities and attempting to influence a public servant.
Some of the most serious charges each carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Richard and Mayumi Heene were shopping at Wal-Mart with their three
sons as Alderden told reporters at the sheriff's station that the whole
thing was a hoax.
October 20 - According to a TMZ report, a 25-year-old researcher Robert Thomas reveals to Gawker Robert Thomashow earlier this year he and Richard Heene drew up a master plan to generate a massive media controversy using a weather balloon. Why? To get famous, of course. Authorities are considering charges that would ential three (3) felonies, conspiracy and 'contributing to the delinquency of a minor."
October 23 - Balloon boy's mom has admitted her family's story is full of hot air.Mayumi Heene
who with her husband sparked a national panic when they said their
6-year-old son, Falcon, was stuck in a runaway, helium-filled balloon,
allegedly told cops the story was a hoax.
"Mayumi described that she and [husband] Richard Heene
devised this hoax approximately two weeks earlier . . . She and Richard
had instructed their three children to lie to authorities as well as
the media regarding this hoax," a newly released police affidavit said.
November 12 - Balloon Boy hoaxters Richard and Mayumi Heene have agreed to plead guilty to charges stemming from the Oct. 15 incident in exchange for probation but no jail time or, in her case, deportation.
November 13 - Richard Heene pleading guilty in courtroom before judge on this AP Video...
December 23 - Despite a tearful apology, a Colorado judge has sentenced the
Heenes (the balloon boy parents) to spend time behind bars for their publicity hoax.
The judge also barred the couple from profiting from the balloon
Now read the backstory, and learn about this family's attraction to being in the spotlight, their addiction to reality-TV and even a music-video where the kids perform their own rap song. Was instant-celebrity one of the motivating factors behind "Falcon's Faux Flight of Fancy"? And was the whole world including the Twitterverse duped into a real-time reality show? Read the backstory for more corroborating evidence.
Falcon HeeneThe boy's family had been building the experimental aircraft at
their home on Fossil Ridge Road in Fort Collins, CNN affiliate KUSA
reported. The family has described the structure as a a
Richard Heene, Fatherdome-shaped "homemade flying saucer," Larimer County Sheriff's Office
Spokeswoman Kathy Davis said.
Richard Heene, "Balloon Boy's" father has been described as "an amazingly creative human (now turned mad scientist) who insists on
repeatedly proving that there is a very fine line between genius and
Mayumi (43), storm scientist Richard
(45) and their three kids, Bradford (8), Ryo (7) and Falcon (5)
An amateur rock/rap video called "Not Pussified" starring the three Heene boys was posted on YouTube,
showing the brothers shooting off rockets, throwing rocks at stuffed
animals, and riding some sort of hovercraft that looks eerily like the
saucer thought to be carrying Falcon on Thursday.
Labeled the "Storm Chasing Family," the Heenes actually chased Hurricane Gustav into the eye!
Richard Heene and Mayumi Heene of the Psyience Detectives, are research scientists and here is a clip from his "Waynes World-like" TV Show. Now, you can understand why Falcon and his bros are a little high strung!
So Reader, what is your take on what happened yesterday that kept us tweeting and shaking our heads in disbelief. Take our Falcon's Faux-Flight of Fancy POLL, and let us know.