New facts seem to be coming to light almost hourly in the saga of the Heene family. Just two days ago, the nation and world watched in captivated horror as they thought that a 6 year old boy was in a basket beneath a homemade helium balloon, only to see the balloon land. With no Falcon Heene inside.
What happened over the next several hours and into the weekend seems almost even more of an unlikely story: That Falcon’s father, Richard Heene, planned the entire elaborate event as a way to get publicity for their failed bid of a reality TV show, after twice appearing on ABC’s reality series Wife Swap.
While everyone around the world was relieved that Falcon Heene was found, unharmed, hiding in the attic over the garage, the entire series of events is continuing to be under active investigation by the Fort Collins sheriff. According to USA Today, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden believes they have unraveled enough of the details to file criminal charges.
For example, The Telegraph reports that Richard Heene called a news station that was known to have a helicopter. Before calling 911 emergency services. There are apparently some legitimate reasons that have been considered for this, such as the idea that the news station could more quickly dispatch someone to help the boy supposedly hiding in the balloon basket.
In addition, in a TV interview on CNN on Thursday night, Falcon was recorded as saying, “We did this for a show”, and sparking off a new round of speculation and rumors that in fact the whole event was a publicity stunt. Heene rebutted the accusations, saying that Falcon is only 6 and probably didn’t understand the question being asked. Heene has been talking to media, supposedly to refute any claims that this event was a publicity stunt. He appeared on “Larry King Live” on Thursday night, CNN on Thursday night, and also NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning. He also released a home video of the balloon launch as a way to support his claims of accidental balloon launch, and apparently told media outside of his house to wait for a big announcement.
In the meantime, costs of the whole event are quietly adding up. For example, The Huffington Post reports that a family’s wheat crop was destroyed in the supposed rescue effort, meaning that it will be 2 years before they can harvest wheat there again. That same newspaper reports there were two helicopters airborne for a combined 4 hours, for a combined cost of over $14,000.
Falcon Heene, 6, is the youngest son of Richard and Mayumi Heene of Fort Collins, Colorado.As part of the ongoing investigation, ABCNews.com reports that Child Protective Services have been called in to review the children’s situation.