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October 19th, 2009
06:00 AM ET

'Balloon boy' drama was staged, sheriff says

(CNN) - Three days after the world watched a giant balloon fly through the air as a tearful family expressed fears that their 6-year-old boy could be inside, authorities announced what millions already suspected: The whole thing was staged.

The balloon is displayed at the sheriff's department in Fort Collins, Colorado, on Sunday.

The balloon is displayed at the sheriff's department in Fort Collins, Colorado, on Sunday.

The "Aha!" moment that led authorities to realize what had happened was an interview with the family Thursday night on CNN's "Larry King Live," Sheriff Jim Alderden of Larimer County said Sunday. In the interview with Wolf Blitzer, filling in for King, the Heenes asked their son why he had not come out from hiding when they called his name.

"You guys said we did this for the show," the boy responded.

On Sunday, Alderden called the incident a "hoax," adding that investigators believe the evidence indicates that "it was a publicity stunt" by the family in hopes of "better marketing themselves for a reality television show at some point in the future."

The parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, met in a Hollywood acting school and "put on a very good show for us," Alderden said. Authorities know there was "a conspiracy" between them, he added.

He said charges are expected to be filed in the case.

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Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. John

    You know... the disgusting thing in all this it is not that family or the parents. My questions are : CNN does not have better news to work on ? and ... mr. anderson cooper and the other giornalists, they start all this sharade accusing from the beginning. ( Even if they made up all )This... are'nt the news that we need to know, ther is a lot more important problems right now then a stupid baloon issue. Long time ago someone said : Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone.

    October 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  2. carol oles

    This directed to Heidi re: balloon boy. The three boys of these
    idiots should be taked out of that home and placed in a loving
    home. These so called parents put their own needs first.
    You could tell by the looks on the boys' faces that they were
    more than a little unconfortable lying as they were told to do
    by their parents. We're supposed to always put our children
    first at our own expense. What is this word coming to?

    October 19, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  3. E. Lowe

    The parents should have to pay for all the time and efforts given by the local rescue support. They should be banned from any further coverage and appearances in any of our media reporting.

    October 19, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  4. Charlene

    So true Kahdir, I believe that too when all the media stop, this family is going off the edge!! It is so sad that these reality shows has really gotten out of hand to the point that some familes think they can make easy money now. Everyone wants to be a star and this family has gone too far. They should be fully charged in the Court of law and order as well to pay back the public money used by emergency staff. They could of caused something even more serious in our nation's security and they are distracking people with this hoax. Human Services should get involved and investigate the welfare of the children. The media need to stop wasting time airing this story and let the Courts do their job to this family!!! The father is sucking up all this and I'm sure he's taping all this looking for a book deal next to make a quick buck. I wouldn't waste my time anymore listening to this. All I want to know is will they fomrally be charge? I see this everyday different cases and they should be charged.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  5. Tomi Leonard

    WoW.., are TOO many people 'over-reacting' to this balloon thing? It appears that many people feel the need to sensationalize and punish. Some of the clowns you show expressing their opinion..., THEY are the ones that are 'doing it for show' ! As far as the Sheriff & local authorities, they need to forget about interfering with another family and causing more grief, as I bet their families are not perfect either.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:16 am |
  6. Carol

    The Heene's are a good example that not all people are fit to be parents

    October 19, 2009 at 8:09 am |
  7. Corey

    I'm tired of hearing about this dumb story, you ask over and over again if it's done for publicity yeah your really helping them this is exactly what they want from new organizations like you, keep airing it, top of the hour, front page blah blah blah, enough already, there is worse things going on in this world.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:08 am |
  8. Kahdir

    This was a cry for attention. I fear when the cameras stop coming, next time the cops will be called for a homicide.

    October 19, 2009 at 7:22 am |
  9. eliz wolfgang

    CNN...Enough already..Stop repeating, over and over, about the balloon story. Until they draft charges against them, there is no "new news" regarding this story. Do not interview these "so-called" experts either. They just want their 5 minutes of fame.

    This is no longer "top news".

    October 19, 2009 at 7:14 am |
  10. michelle

    So many reality shows making money, like John and kate, so everyone wants to be reality star. Sad that people are not happy with what they have..again money the root of all evil!

    October 19, 2009 at 6:49 am |