Posted tagged ‘Richard Heene’

Jail Time for Parents in “Balloon Boy” Hoax

December 23, 2009

Richard and Mayumi Heene, the Fort Collins couple who claimed their son was adrift in a home-made balloon, have been sentenced to serve jail time for perpetrating the publicity stunt.

This was probably one of the most covered stories of the year, I’d have to guess. Casey/Caylee Anthony probably was up there again in 2009 as well.

From the Associated Press:

A judge on Wednesday sentenced Richard Heene to 90 days in jail, including 60 days of work release that will let him pursue work as a construction contractor while doing his time. Mayumi Heene was sentenced to 20 days behind bars after her husband’s release.

Both were also sentenced to four years probation and have been barred from profiting from the balloon spectacle during that time.

Heene choked back tears as he said he was sorry, especially to the rescue workers who chased down false reports that his 6-year-old son had floated away in a balloon.

Prosecutors are still seeking to recover the costs of the search and investigation which they say could exceed $50,000.


Balloon Boy’s Parents Admit to Hoax, Avoid Jail

November 12, 2009

The parents of “Balloon Boy” Falcon Heene will be pleading guilty tomorrow in a deal that will avoid a felony conviction against the boy’s mother, Mayumi Heene, which would have meant her deportation.

The couple engaged in a hoax by reporting that their son Falcon was trapped in a runaway helium balloon, a story which captivated the nation just a few weeks ago.

From the Associated Press:

Richard Heene will plead guilty in the alleged Oct. 15 hoax to attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, his attorney David Lane said. Mayumi Heene — a Japanese citizen who could have been deported if convicted of more serious charges — will plead guilty to false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor, he said.

Prosecutors haven’t announced whether they’ve filed charges in the case and didn’t immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment on the plea agreement.

The saga gripped a global audience, first with fear for the safety of 6-year-old Falcon Heene and then with anger at his parents when authorities accused them of perpetrating a hoax.

After the boy was found safe at home, sheriff’s officials contacted social workers to make sure the children were in a healthy environment.

Kanye West: Death Rumors Not True

October 21, 2009

The rumors that Kanye West died in a car accident earlier today have been confirmed to be untrue. Just another hoax that has taken over the Internet.

From the New York Daily News:

On Tuesday, “RIP Kayne West” started trending on popular micro-blogging site Twitter after a bogus report popped up on image-based bulletin board claiming West had died in a car accident in Los Angeles.

But not long after the hoax became the top Google search in the U.S. did West’s girlfriend Amber Rose put the rumors to rest.

“This ‘RIP KayneWest’ topic is not funny and it’s NOT TRUE,” the model tweeted. “He has people like myself and his family that love him very much.

“It’s in extreme poor taste to have that as a trendy topic,” Rose continued. “It’s totally disrespectful to make up a story like this. We’re all human and we all make mistakes and to say someone died cuz of a mistake is ridiculous. U wouldn’t want someone to say that about u.”

Users who searched for more information on the story were redirected to sites distributing spyware, malware and “scareware,” according to

FAA Investigating “Balloon Boy” Incident

October 20, 2009

As expected, last week’s incident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

I’m very interested to see how this plays out over the coming weeks. What charges will be filed, what happens to the kids and everyone else who was involved in this elaborate hoax.

From CNN:

Richard and Mayumi Heene, whose son Falcon was thought for several hours to have flown away in a homemade balloon, are facing a number of local charges, a Colorado sheriff said this week.

The Fort Collins couple could be charged with conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and attempting to influence a public servant, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said Sunday. The family also probably will be charged with filing a false police report, which is a misdemeanor, Alderden said.

Their lawyer, David Lane, said the sheriff was overreaching and that the family deserves the presumption of innocence.

With Dreams Deflated, Heene Parents to Surrender

October 19, 2009

Well, it looks like their 15 minutes of fame are up!

Richard and Mayumi Heene, accused of concocting a publicity stunt by pretending that their 6 year old son had climbed aboard a homemade, experimental helium balloon and was flying though the skies of Colorado, will voluntarily surrender to authorities as soon as charges are filed. This could come as soon as tomorrow.

This was bound to happen. I’m surprised it’s taken this long. I guess the authorities are just getting all of their ducks in a row first.

Also, be sure to check out the story on Robert Thomas, the man who claims to have worked with Richard Heene months ago to come up with a similar plan. Gawker has a great article on this!

From the New York Times:

David Lane, a Colorado civil rights lawyer who is representing Richard Heene, said both Mr. Heene and his wife, Mayumi, would plead not guilty and would turn themselves in to avoid further public spectacle.

Mr. Lane contended that placing handcuffs on the Heenes, in the full glare of the news media and for their children to see, would be abusive to the youngsters. The case became a nationally televised spectacle last Thursday, when the Heenes frantically reported that their 6-year-old son, Falcon, had climbed into the silver flying saucer his father had built in the backyard and drifted into the sky.

Television images of the balloon with the boy thought to be aboard prompted a massive search and rescue operation. But when the contraption landed more than 60 miles way, Falcon was not in it. Hours later, he emerged from a crawl space above an attic in the garage of the Heenes’ home, where he had apparently been hiding the entire time.

After initially believing the Heenes’ story, investigators grew suspicious after Falcon, in an interview on “Larry King Live,” said to his father, “You guys said that, um, we did this for the show.”

Was the Media in on the Falcon Heene Hoax?

October 18, 2009

I’m hearing this evening that it’s possible that a media outlet was involved in the elaborate hoax set up by Richard and Mayumi Heene.

Huh? How could that even be possible? Doesn’t that go against everything that journalists stand for?

If this is true, could it be the local station that was originally called, before the Heene’s called 911?

I’m really interested to learn more about this.


From the Associated Press:

The stunt two weeks in the planning was a marketing ploy by Richard and Mayumi Heene, who met in acting school in Hollywood and have appeared on the ABC reality show “Wife Swap,” Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said. The Heenes have reportedly been working on a reality TV deal in Los Angeles.

Investigators are examining the possibility of other conspirators, “including the possibility that even some of the media outlets may have had some knowledge about this,” Alderden said.

Documents show that a media outlet has agreed to pay money to the Heenes with regard to the balloon incident, Alderden said. He didn’t name the media outlet, but said it was a show that blurs “the line between entertainment and news.” It wasn’t clear whether the deal was signed before or after the alleged hoax, or whether that media outlet was a possible conspirator.

Alderden did not name an outlet or provide any details.

“Let’s call it (my statement) short of speculation that a media outlet was in on the hoax, but let’s not discount the possibility,” he said.

Robert Thomas: The Man Who Helped Richard Heene Plan the Balloon Hoax

October 18, 2009

Very interesting piece on Gawker featuring Robert Thomas, a man who claims that he and Richard Heene concocted a plan to create a massive publicity stunt using a weather balloon.

This story has really hit a nerve with the American public. When we first tuned in, we were all very scared for both Falcon Heene, and his family. As a father of two small children, I couldn’t imagine what they were going through. Now, to hear that this was all a hoax, well it angers me. Granted, once we learned who the family was, we all immediately thought that this could be a hoax. But how could they pull this off was our question.

A short excerpt of the Gawker piece can be found below but be sure to click on the link for the full story of Robert Thomas and Richard Heene and the planning that went into this (or a form of it). Good stuff!!!

From the article:

When my friends called me about the whole balloon episode I was working. I had just moved to a new place and didn’t have my television set up. I probably would never even have heard about this, except that a good friend of mine remembered me telling him about Richard several months ago. He told me, “Rob, you need to turn on the tv immediately! That Richard guy you worked with just pulled a massive publicity stunt!”

Richard’s story doesn’t add up. He is saying he thought Falcon was in the balloon, and that Falcon ran and hid as a result of Richard yelling at him. I’ve spent a lot of time with them, and Falcon is, first of all, not afraid of his father. I’ve never once seen Richard’s children afraid of him — and I’ve definitely never seen Falcon go hide. He was one of the most social of the three children.

Secondly, Falcon supposedly hid in that attic in the garage. I’ve spent a lot of time in his garage, which has a drill press and various welding tools. It’s unorganized and chaotic. There’s really not so much an attic as some support beams connected with plywood. Being an adult of average height, I couldn’t get up into the attic if I’d wanted to, so I don’t know how a six-year-old child could have gotten up there. There’s not an easy way to access that overhang. Maybe if I’d lifted that child up into the attic, he might have been able to rest up there, but not comfortably.