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Balloon Boy Incident

a 'Hoax'

10/18/2009 2:16 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden says they have evidence that the runaway balloon incident was a "hoax" and a "publicity stunt" to promote a reality show.

Alderden says they plan on filing charges against Richard and Mayumi Heene soon -- one of which would be contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which is a felony. The other charges could be conspiracy, false reporting and attempt to influence an officer.

The most significant charges they face could result in a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

The kids will probably not face charges, Alderden says, because of their age. Alderden says Child Protective Services has been notified and will be conducting an investigation.

Alderden says the hoax was a "planned event for two weeks."

Alderden said that if the charges do go forward, they will seek restitution for all the expenses the county incurred. He doesn't believe anyone would serve jail time because of the overcrowding situtation in Colorado and because it would be their first offense.

He did not set a time frame for when arrests would be made.

The sheriff also said this about Richard Heene: "His education level is only high school ... he may be nutty, but he's not a professor."


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Yolanda Nixon    

Les Francais sont tres bete!

1839 days ago


Ummm...uhhh...yeah, we all knew it was a hoax days ago. Fast work, Sheriff.

1839 days ago

A Person    

wtf i was the 8th comment now im the 12th... TMZ IS OUT TO GET ME!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!

1839 days ago


Throw him in jail. make him pay for ALL The expenses and take his kids away. That's his new reality show.
"Honey I f**ked over my kids."

1839 days ago

A Person    

14. The sheriff is a doughnut eating pansy. First he says it's unlikely it's a hoax even when it's OBVIOUS it's one. He does that to avoid looking bad for being fooled and a terrible investigation to begin with. So he kept playing it like it was unlikely to be a hoax. He should have just avoided trying to tell us all it wasn't one. Then only when someone else speaks up with the truth does he change and say he thinks it's a hoax and he's filing charges, after everyone including the birds in the sky agree it's one. He should have his stupid star ripped off and given to someone else.

Posted at 1:33PM on Oct 18th 2009 by zing


1839 days ago


TMZ, please, what can we do to help the family whose wheat crop was trashed? As a person who has many mid-West family members who farm, I know this family will face a hardship.

1839 days ago


#19 I don't agree with all you say. The police often set up situations to try to get people to contribute more to their own downfall. In this case, I believe the police said they felt this was real and not a hoax in hopes the perps (and others, as we have found out) will TALK!

1839 days ago


Lens Duviour, we have bad hygiene?! You clearly have lost one of your senses.

For someone who claims to be so cultured, you definitely make yourself sound very uneducated.

You might need to expand your "cultural" horizons.

1839 days ago


I REALLY hope that these people are persecuted and held liable for this! That was a HORRIBLE thing to do!! And dragging your children into it nonetheless! These people should be so ASHAMED of themselves! They should have to pay for all the man power used to look for this "missing" child! PEOPLE LIKE THIS DO NOT DESERVE CHILDREN! These children are going to be victims of HORRIBLE PARENTING and it's really sad.

1839 days ago

A Person    

21. #19 I don't agree with all you say. The police often set up situations to try to get people to contribute more to their own downfall. In this case, I believe the police said they felt this was real and not a hoax in hopes the perps (and others, as we have found out) will TALK!

Posted at 1:41PM on Oct 18th 2009 by Lilarose in Oregon
Good point but the sheriff's still an idiot

1839 days ago

Wake up people!    

This a-hole fooled the media into thinking he sent his kid into a Jiffy Pop balloon, drugs the ids when they tell the truth, and beats his wife? And he's STILL not in jail? You're keeping your county mighty safe there, Officer Fife.

And he won't either. Remember Jon Benet??

1839 days ago

Catt Alex    

ei....I have always suspected the possibility that the children could have been drugged. It could have been that Falcon was drugged in order to hide for so long.
Hey, it could happen.

I just want to say to all those idiots who, in the face of all the emerging evidence, kept saying that the family was innocent and they didn't think this was a hoax...boy, do you have egg on your face NOW.
Still clinging to the family's innocence? How did all THAT work out for ya?

Next time, BELIEVE IT when it's shoved in your face. Being the lone hold-out for the under dog gets you NO WHERE. It just makes you look like a fool.

I've been wanting to say that for DAYS to those idiots who INSISTED this was NOT a hoax.

1839 days ago


So much for the Sheriff's Department's body language experts!!! Why did the public at large smell something fishy, yet the PD didn't? In any event, I hope they will seek restitution for the alleged 2 million dollar bill their stunt cost the taxpayers. What the hell is wrong with people today? It's even sadder when they breed!

1839 days ago

A Person    

I hope the kids don't go to Juvie because of their famewhore parents.

1839 days ago

Bobo Frog    

Can you imagine the trauma little Falcon is going through. His parents and brothers must all be blaming HIM for the fact that all this is happening, because the parents are too immature to realize their own irresponsibility in this matter, and then when the parent(s) go to jail, he will continue to feel the burden of guilt. He will lead a troubled life, assuming he manages to live beyond his teen years without offing himself.

1839 days ago
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