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A 6-year-old boy was found in his home after a massive search. The boy was first believed aboard a helium balloon.

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A 6-year-old boy was found in his home after a massive search. The boy was first believed aboard a helium balloon.

Post  Guest on Thu 15 Oct - 23:30

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- A 6-year-old boy was found in his home after a massive search. The boy was first believed aboard a helium balloon. LIVE VIDEO:7News Coverage

"He's at the house and he's fine," said Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden, shortly after 4 p.m. "He was hiding in a cardboard box in the attic above the garage."

For more than four hours, authorities believed the boy was in a hot air balloon that was floating over Colorado. The balloon landed about 2 miles northeast of Prospect Reservoir at 1:35 p.m., in Weld County, but the boy was not inside. That's about 50 miles from where the balloon lifted off.

The boy was identified as Falcon Heene, the youngest of three sons of Richard and Mayumi Heene, of Fort Collins.

The family reported Falcon could not be found after the balloon lifted off. His older brother told his parents that he saw Falcon climb into a box attached to the bottom of the balloon and the balloon lifted off, Larimer County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kathy Messick said.

The balloon did have a box that carried batteries, she said.

The box was attached to the aircraft and there was damage to the area where the boy was believed to have been. Authorities had thought for some time that the box had become detached before the balloon landed.

"It was never intended for any more weight than the batteries that were in the compartment," Messick said.
[A black mass can been seen below and slightly to the left of the photo. Authorities are trying to determine if it something that fell from the balloon.]
Lisa Eklund
A black mass can been seen below and slightly to the left of the photo. Authorities are trying to determine if it something that fell from the balloon.

Earlier, authorities thought the boy might have fallen from the balloon and were closely examining an amateur photo that showed a black mass below the balloon to determine if it is something that fell. The photo was taken by Lisa Eklund as the balloon floated away from the boy's neighborhood.

Authorities earlier described the craft as a sort of weather balloon and said it reached an altitude of 15,000 feet before it began descending.

Authorities said the boy's home and neighborhood were immediately searched and there was no sign of the boy, leading everyone to believe the boy had climbed into the craft. It was not clear why they didn't find the boy during the initial search.

Falcon Heene was out of school on Thursday because of teacher conferences at his school.

The foil balloon, in the shape of a flying saucer, lifted into the air from south Fort Collins at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, after the balloon became untethered from the boy's home.

"We were sitting, eating, looking out where they normally shoot off hot air balloons. My husband said he saw something. It went over our rooftop. Then we saw the big round balloonish thing, it was spinning," said Lisa Eklund.

The father and his sons had apparently been working on the balloon for some time.

"This sort of thing is normal for them," the neighbor said.

After the balloon lifted off there were sporadic reports on its location as it drifted with the wind over the flat Colorado countryside.

Airtracker 7 located the balloon at 12:35 p.m. at about 8,000 feet in Weld County. It appeared to be slightly tilted at that time.

"The structure at the bottom of the balloon … is made of extremely thin plywood and won't withstand any kind of a crash at all," said Erik Nilsson, Larimer County Emergency Manager, as the balloon floated thousands of feet over farmland.

Deputies from Larimer and Weld counties tracked the balloon from the ground as it drifted in the skies. Experts had said it could remain airborne for up to 12 hours, although it was clearly deflated on one side by 1:25 p.m., and was descending to about 400 feet off the ground at 1:30 p.m.

When it landed, at 1:35 p.m., deputies immediately surrounded and secured the balloon then radioed the news, "Be advised, it's empty. It's empty."

The box that the boy is believed to have climbed into was not attached.

Heene Family on ABC's WifeSwap
ABC.com
The Heene family, as seen in a promotional picture for ABC's "Wifeswap." Falcon is the boy in the black jacket.

A neighbor said the "whole family was out there" working on the balloon Thursday morning. The neighbor said the balloon was supposed to be tethered and hover 20 feet in the air with no one on board.

"This was never meant to carry anybody," Messick said. She said the family was in their home awaiting word on the boy's fate.

An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board was examining the craft about two hours after it landed. The investigator could be seen taking photos of the bottom of the craft and peering inside.

Balloon Chased

While the balloon was airborne, Larimer County fire dispatchers asked if Airtracker 7 could use an outside speaker to ask the boy if he had a valve to release helium.

"Is there a way to release some of the helium that this kid may know?" the dispatcher asked. "Maybe we can get him to lower it."

There was no visible response from the balloon.

There was worry at one point that the balloon might drift into air traffic control corridors used by Denver International Airport, based on its current location and direction. Deputies alerted DIA air traffic controllers to warn them about letting aircraft fly through the area.

Flights heading to the north from DIA were diverted while the balloon was in the air. A DIA spokesman said flights were diverted for 15 to 20 minutes but airport operations were not affected.

The Colorado National Guard launched a Blackhawk helicopter and a smaller Kiowa helicopter to try and intercept the balloon, but they were never seen.

Authorities were reviewing photos and cell-phone videos to see if they could determine if the boy was on the craft.

A massive ground search was launched after the balloon touched down and deputies determined the boy was not aboard. Law enforcement agencies were retracing the balloon's path in an effort to try and locate the missing boy.

Airlife Denver -- a medical helicopter -- also joined in the search for the boy from the air.

Richard and Mayumi Heene appeared on two episodes of ABC's "Wife Swap."

Richard Heene has been described by friends as a sort of "mad scientist." He is a storm chaser and has a Web site, called The Psyience Detectives, which "investigates the mysteries of science and psychic phenomenon."

7NEWS meteorologist Richard Ortner described Heene as "very intelligent and wildly creative." Ortner accompanied the Heene family as they were storm chasing last year.

This story is being updated continually. Please refresh this page.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/21306839/detail.html

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Re: A 6-year-old boy was found in his home after a massive search. The boy was first believed aboard a helium balloon.

Post  Guest on Fri 16 Oct - 10:45

Thank God he wasn't up in a balloon!! Blimey I have heard of losing sight of your child for a few minutes...but I would never want to think my baby is up in a bloody hot air balloon!!

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Re: A 6-year-old boy was found in his home after a massive search. The boy was first believed aboard a helium balloon.

Post  Guest on Sun 18 Oct - 20:16

It now looks as though the whole thing was an elaborate hoax. Apparently they were "good actors" that took everyone in, but the parents are looking at a fine of up to $1/2million, plus paying for all the police time wasted. I do hope that the McScum are paying attention.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8313439.stm

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Re: A 6-year-old boy was found in his home after a massive search. The boy was first believed aboard a helium balloon.

Post  Guest on Sun 18 Oct - 23:06

What unbelievable irresponsibility.

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US balloon mother 'admits hoax'

Post  Guest on Sat 24 Oct - 5:04


US balloon mother 'admits hoax'

Court documents suggest Mrs Heene planned the hoax days earlier

The mother of a boy thought to have been swept away in a giant helium balloon has admitted the incident was a hoax, according to court documents.

Mayumi Heene apparently told officials she and her husband "knew all along" her son, aged six, was hiding at home.

The papers, which were made public in the United States, also suggest the parents had told their children to lie.

According to the affidavit, Mrs Heene said the plan was to make the Colorado family more marketable to the media.

...

The court document says the parents devised the hoax about two weeks earlier.

"She [Mrs Heene] and her husband had instructed their three children to lie to authorities as well as the media regarding this hoax," it continues.

...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8323590.stm

Interesting that the authorities are looking at this as a crime against the children - contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Teaching the children to lie is not a good idea.

Parents could face six years in prison and half a million dollar fine.

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Re: A 6-year-old boy was found in his home after a massive search. The boy was first believed aboard a helium balloon.

Post  Guest on Sat 24 Oct - 23:59

The mother of the six-year-old boy once feared missing inside a runaway helium balloon admitted the whole saga was a hoax, according to court documents released on Friday.

Mayumi Heene told sheriff's deputies that she and her husband Richard "knew all along that Falcon was hiding in the residence" in Fort Collins, according to an affidavit used to get a search warrant for the home.

She allegedly told investigators the incident was a hoax meant to make the family more marketable to the media.

"Mayumi described that she and Richard Heene devised this hoax approximately two weeks earlier.

"She and Richard had instructed their three children to lie to authorities as well as the media regarding this hoax," the affidavit said.

Richard Heene has denied a hoax. His lawyer, David Lane, said Friday he is waiting to see the evidence in the case.

"Allegations are cheap," Lane said.

Mayumi Heene's lawyer, Lee Christian, was travelling and didn't immediately respond to messages left with his office.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden has said he will recommend charges against the Heenes including conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to authorities, and attempting to influence a public servant.

The most serious charges are felonies and carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

Alderden said authorities also would be seeking restitution for the costs of the balloon chase, though he didn't provide a figure.

His office has said it will likely be next week before it forwards its findings to prosecutors to decide on charges.

In frantic calls to a television station, the police emergency dispatcher and federal aviation officials, the Heenes reported that they feared Falcon was in the homemade, saucer-like balloon when it was accidentally launched from their back yard last week.

Millions watched on TV as media and National Guard helicopters tracked the balloon across the Colorado plains.

It landed in a dusty farm field, where ground crews looked inside but found no sign of the boy.

Later, the relieved-looking couple reported Falcon had been hiding in their garage the whole time. But suspicion heated up when Falcon made a comment on CNN that sounded like "You had said we did this for a show".

Sheriff's deputies questioned the parents separately on October 17, two days after the flight.

Mayumi Heene told authorities "she and Richard Heene had lied to authorities on October 15, 2009 (the day of the flight)," the affidavit said.

She told investigators "that the release of the flying saucer was intentional as a hoax. ... The motive for the fabricated story was to make the Heene family more marketable for future media interest," the affidavit said.

The Heenes twice had appeared on the ABC television network reality show Wife Swap, and acquaintances said Richard Heene had plans for other possible shows.

The producer of Wife Swap had a show in development with the Heenes but said the deal is now off.

The TLC cable network also said Heene had pitched a reality show months ago, but it passed on the offer.

Sheriff's officials declined to comment on Friday.

Poor kids, I wonder what will happen to them if the parents DO get jailed.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/newshome/6383788

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Re: A 6-year-old boy was found in his home after a massive search. The boy was first believed aboard a helium balloon.

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