Sheriff: Balloon Boy Incident Was Not a Hoax

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 John Moore/Getty Images

The Fort Collins, Colorado sheriff's department said Friday that the incident involving a 6-year-old boy who was thought to be in a homemade helium-filled balloon that floated away appeared to be a "real event" and not the result of a publicity stunt.

Sheriff Jim Alderden said that after re-interviewing Falcon Heene's parents, the department concluded it was "inconceivable" that the boy had been coached by his parents to hide in the attic for five hours.

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Alderden called Falcon a "hyperactive boy" who was likely frightened because he was responsible for un-tethering the balloon.

He said that authorities were convinced that Heene's parents were being "honest" based on their statements, emotions and body language.

But he did admit, "I would say this is not a typical American family." (The boys' parents are storm chasers who appeared in the ABC reality show Wife Swap.) Added Alderden, "They engage in behaviors a lot of us don't. Obviously, it's very different family dynamics than most of us experience."

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Questions were raised about the incident after the boy said "we did this for a show" in a live interview with CNN.  

The boy's father, Richard Heene, sternly denied hoax rumors on all the morning talk shows Friday.

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"Now I am starting to get a little ticked off because I am repetitively getting asked this in the last couple of interviews," he told NBC's Meredith Vieira. "What do I have to gain about this? I am not selling anything. I am not advertising anything."

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