TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Was Balloon Boy A Fraud?

[Artwork by Chris Toumanian]

ASSOCIATED PRESS: The disappearance and sudden discovery of the boy have raised questions about whether it was all an elaborate attention-getting stunt orchestrated by the Heenes or simply a bizarre case of a child who ran away and hid after getting spooked by a scolding from his father. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said authorities do not believe at this point if it was a hoax but he would meet with investigators Friday to decide whether to look into the matter further. Asked during an impromptu news conference outside his house whether the incident was a stunt, Richard Heene said: “That’s horrible. After the crap we just went through. No. No, no, no.” MORE

BBC: However, questions over the family’s motivation later emerged during a CNN interview. Mr Heene was balloon_boy_fam.jpgasked by an interviewer to ask his son why he had not emerged from his hiding place when he heard his parents calling out his name. Speaking hesitantly at first, Falcon answered: “You had said that we did this for a show.” Pressed on what his son might have meant, Mr Heene struggled for an answer, saying that his son must have been confused by the family’s previous appearance on Wife Swap. In a later segment of the interview Mr Heene avoided a request to ask Falcon once again what he meant by his comment, and instead rounded on his questioner. “I’m kind of appalled after all the feelings that I went through, up and down, that you guys are trying to suggest something else,” he said. Police official Jim Alderden said his officers had been convinced throughout the day that they had been dealing with a genuine situation. However, he conceded, the CNN interview “raised some questions”. “We intend to go back and further ask the family to co-operate with our investigation through answering more questions and resolve this issue,” he told the Associated Press. MORE

RELATED: A portrait is emerging of a publicity-seeking man who fled California with unsettled financial affairs and whose recent colorful past includes an appearance on ABC’s “Wife Swap,” a series of unusual inventions and a self-produced hip-hip video. A search of public records revealed that Richard Heene, 48, and his wife, Mayumi, owe thousands of dollars in connection to a company called My You Me Productions. Prior to moving to Colorado, Heene and his wife were aspiring actors in Los Angeles who met at an acting school, a source told  MORE

HUFFINGTON POST: Falcon Heene is safe and sound from a flying balloon, but he’s got the flu. As his family did the morning show circuit on Friday, he first vomited during a GMA appearance, which was pretaped. He, his two brothers and his parents were appearing via satellite from their Colorado home. As he ran off to the bathroom to vomit, Diane Sawyer encouraged his parents, who both stayed seated, to go after him. Falcon’s mom did get up. Then, live on the “Today” show, he threw up again. As his father Richard was denying the balloon chase of Thursday was hoax, the six-year-old starting puking again. His mom handed him some Tupperware to vomit into, and he did. Meredith Vieira kept talking and his father was cringing as Falcon vomited and his mother wiped his mouth. MORE

ASSOCIATED PRESS: The Larimer County sheriff in Colorado says they have no indication a family was carrying out a hoax when they reported their 6-year-old son was in a helium balloon that floated away from their home. Sheriff Jim Alderden said Friday the suggestion that the boy, Falcon Heene, was coached to hide seems inconceivable. He says the boy thought he was responsible for the balloon coming untied and hid because he was afraid he’d be in trouble. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW: 6-Year-Old Boy Climbs Into Flying Saucer Balloon And Floats Away

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