Sheriff: Balloon Boy Incident Was a "Hoax"

Celebrity News Oct. 18, 2009 AT 1:38PM
Sheriff: Balloon Boy Incident Was a "Hoax" Credit: John Moore/Getty Images

The case of the Colorado "balloon boy" -- in which 6-year-old-son Falcon Heene was feared to have floated away on a "homemade flying saucer" Oct. 15 only to be found hiding in his attic -- has been ruled a "hoax" and a "publicity stunt," Larimer County, Colorado, Sheriff Jim Alderden said Sunday.

He said the boy's parents -- Wife Swap stars Richard and Mayumi Heene -- "put on a vert good show for us, and we bought it," he said.

We believe that we have evidence at this point to indicate that it was a publicity stunt done with the hopes of marketing themselves or better marketing themselves for a reality television show at some point in the future," Alderden said.

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On Saturday, Alderden said criminal charges will likely be filed.

"We were looking at Class 3 misdemeanor, which hardly seems serious enough given the circumstances," he said. "We are talking to the district attorney, federal officials to see if perhaps there aren't additional federal charges that are appropriate in this circumstance."

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Richard and Mayumi Heene declined to comment Saturday evening as they left the sheriff's office after several hours of interviews with investigators.

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"I was talking to the sheriff's department just now to further things along," Heene told reporters outside the building. "We're doing well."

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