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Heene family faked 'Balloon Boy' accident to get on TV

by Danny Gallagher, posted Oct 19th 2009 9:03AM
An Adams County sheriff's deputy chases down a UFO shapped balloon thought to have carried the Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they learned about "Balloon Boy." Rather, they remember what they were thinking: "Has the news media completely run out of things to cover today or was Chester the Squirrel That Can Water-Ski taking a day off?"

Every section of your TV had been preempted and saturated with coverage of what sheriff's deputies believed to be a runaway balloon that was carrying the life of an innocent boy with it. It even preempted the so-called cable "news" networks that interrupted coverage of the pending health care reform bill. That move only would have made sense if insurance companies refused to cover victims of hot air balloon accidents because they considered "gravity" to be a pre-existing condition.

And the really funny part is now it starts getting weird. The Larimer County Sheriff's Office said the family faked the whole thing just so they could get on TV.

Sheriff Jim Alderden said the couple, Richard and Mayumi Heene, would face several felony charges for perpetrating their little stunt, including conspiracy, attempting to influence a public servant, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and false reporting to authorities. No word yet on whether endangering the public's sanity would be included on their rap sheet.

Police believe that the family hoped to turn this incident into a reality show that could earn them thousands of dollars per episode. The family had appeared on two episode of Wife Swap and even pitched a reality show to TLC. Exactly what kind of reality show would they have made out of something that was completely faked? Come to think of it, that's every reality show on TV now.

There is a silver lining to this botched balloon job. Apparently, TV helped police track down the fake story. Authorities saw a crack in the family's story when CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed the boy, Falcon, and he said "We did this for the show." Blitzer and other news outlets called the father on this, and he launched his own attack on the media. This prompted authorities to further investigate the family's claims.

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I am sure the family has an agent shopping the movie/book/interview rights to the media. It would not be surprising to learn the movie rights were pre-sold, perhaps with a bonus if a criminal trial with jail time. The story should get good free publicity while the movie is in production.

If a media outlet were to face criminal conspiracy charges (unlikely), it might deter others from making a profit from psychopaths.

October 19 2009 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is inspiring. Can't we find a nice, big, sturdy (but breakable) balloon, put the Heenes and the Gosselins (just the parents, not the kids) on it, and launch it from the West Coast toward Australia? I think most TV viewers, law-enforcement and minimum-wage household help in central PA would consider this tax money well spent, especially if they land in the middle of the "Garbage Patch."

October 19 2009 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Elaine's comment

Don't forget to include octomom

October 19 2009 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I knew something was "hinky" from the start.

I go to lunch from 12:30 - 1:30 PM and I usually listen to the local news while driving to get something to eat. The balloon had just sat down with the authorities checking it as I left for lunch. At first I thought maybe it was a toddler then when they mentioned the kid was six my first thoughts were, "It's a Thursday in the mid October. Why isn't he in school?! He shouldn't have been in a position to crawl inside unbeknownst to anybody." Then as more and more info came out about these "wack-jobs" of parents I just knew something wasn't right. I really hope they get the book thrown at them but someone mentioned that since they haven't served any previous jail time they'll probably just get fines. I put them in the same category as the woman who faked the finger in the Wendy's chili. Complete idiots.

You could hear genuine concern and upset in the voices of our local news people, and some of the national ones for that matter, as this thing was unfolding and they thought a little kid's life was in danger. I wonder how used they must feel. I mean, they often get a bad wrap these days no matter what they cover or how they cover it. So to have this jerk and his family wasting their time and resources when they could have actually been reporting on legitimated news is harmful for all of us. And what about all the time and resources of the fire and rescue people? Arrrgh!!

October 19 2009 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to say that when I walked by a TV in our work's cafeteria and saw the balloon coverage I got sick to my stomach thinking of a kid stuck in there. I fully expected the balloon to rise to the point of him either freezing to death or bursting and dropping.

So I don't think this is a point of the news not having "Chester the Squirrel That Can Water-Ski" to cover.

This was a heart-wrenching situation.

October 19 2009 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

God, what is wrong these people!!!!!!!! I hate feeling used, and that's the way everyone else is feeling right now. These people played with our emotions, I hope they get EVERYTHING that's coming to them!!!!

October 19 2009 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Welcome to the 21st century, where children are the new workforce. Don't feel like being part of society? Hate the idea of having to actually work, sweat, answer to an employer? Just find some way of capitalizing on your own children! Its so easy, make a brood bitch of your wife or significant other or yourself if you are genetically capable, you will have to work hard to one up the suleiman debacle but I imagine it's possible. If that isn't possible, find some way of putting your child's life in jeopardy... or make it look so, and call every news venue in the world to publicize it. Still too much for you? Well, maybe you can enroll your child in some kind of acting classes or convince disney to make a show for your child showcasing your relationship on air... oh ya, kid'll have to sing dance and pretend she/he's someone else when on stage...
To quote mckauly culkin,... "AAAAAAUUUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!"

October 19 2009 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

Some people will sell their souls and their kids for their "fifteen minutes" of fame and money. Maybe next time they should just try a j-o-b.

October 19 2009 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope he's happy. He is going to be on a reality TV show... COPS!

October 19 2009 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hated him on Wife Swap - he was a total jerk. Seemed very misogynistic. Somehow they were "picked" as a fan favorite to get another swap. Lame.

My favorite part of this was Saturday, he walked out of his house with a cardboard box and said to put questions for him in the box because he said he had no idea what the news was saying about him and he "didn't have cable".

I'm sorry but if I were on the national news channels 24/7, I think I might watch a second of what they're saying. And these people seem like total attention whores. It was an adult's way of putting their hands over their ears and saying "LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR WHAT YOU'RE SAYING LA LA LA!"

October 19 2009 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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