Heene Family to Face Charges Over Balloon Boy Hoax

The family of ‘Balloon Boy’ Falcon Heene will face criminal charges for what authorities are calling an elaborate hoax. In a press conference on Sunday, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said authorities have evidence Richard Heene and his wife staged the release of a homemade hot air balloon and subsequent report their son was missing as a “publicity stunt.”


The entire nation was glued to the story on Thursday when the Heene family reported their youngest son, Falcon Heene, was missing and might be aboard an escaped homemade hot air balloon. When the balloon finally touched down hours later, the boy was not inside. Shortly afterward, the boy was allegedly found hiding in a box in the attic of the family garage.

Speculation the entire incident might have been a hoax quickly made the rounds after it was discovered the Heene family had previously starred on two episodes of Wife Swap and had been shopping around to star in their own reality show. The hoax theory gained further weight when confused Balloon Boy Falcon Heene said on Larry King Live that “we did this for the show.”

The Heene family home was searched on Saturday by local authorities looking for evidence the ‘Balloon Boy’ drama had been staged. On Sunday, Sheriff Jim Alderden stated police believe they have enough evidence to bring criminal charges against Richard Heene and his wife for the alleged publicity stunt. The Heenes could face charges of conspiracy, false reporting, contributing to the deliquency of a minor and attempting to influence a public official.

>> Previously: Balloon Boy Throws Up on Today Show, Father Denies Hoax