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October 16th, 2009
09:08 AM ET

Wild Ride

Many feared 6-year-old Falcon Heene had stowed away in a runaway Mylar balloon that was speeding across the Colorado sky yesterday. He was later found hiding in his family's attic.

In an interview with CNN's "Larry King Live," Falcon said he heard his parents call for him from the garage. When asked by his father on-air why he didn't respond, the boy replied, "You guys said we did this for the show." When Falcon’s father, Richard Heene, was pressed to explain what his son meant, he became uncomfortable, finally saying he was "appalled" by the questions, adding that Falcon was likely referring to all the media coverage.

Authorities say they don’t believe the case is a hoax, but will question the family further in light of the boy’s comment on CNN.

So what do you think?
Leave us a comment. We’ll share some of them on air in the CNN Newsroom, 11am — 1pm ET.


Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. curious1966

    I watched yesterday the emotional coverage of that balloon racing fast across the sky. I swallowed hard when they announced that the boy might have fallen off. I held my breath when I saw the balloon land. I let out a gasp when there was no one inside. Then I thought the worst.
    Later, the boy walks out from the attic, where apparently, he had snacks and toys to play with, and fell asleep.
    After watching Larry King Live last night, my emotions went to ANGER!
    "we did it for the show"!
    Clearly a hoax. Needless people and resources were used, wonder who ends up paying for that?

    October 16, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  2. Frank J. Pisano

    Does anyone not think this was not a hoax set up by the father? Sure, the balloon was just sitting next to the family car in the driveway and was filled with(helium) just waiting. It had to be tethered or it would fly away by itself. Did the child untether it and quickly jump into the enclosure attached? Did any one question the weight lifting capacity of the balloon? That's a stretch! Judgeing from the coverage this received on all the media it had to be slow news day. Thankyou

    October 16, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  3. donnie

    Here is what I want to know ... why didn't the parents inform law enforcement that the basket was missing during the two hour flight on tv? Surely they looked at tv to stay on top of what was going on.

    It smells like a hoax, but either way, this family should share the law enforcement costs.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  4. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Is this the family who cried wolf was it all a lie or was it the straight forward truth either way the evidence points to an unsafe home for these kids this is no different then leaving loaded guns laying around the father was lucky to have his kid back but the net bullet may not misfire .

    October 16, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  5. Dan

    I noticed that during the Larry King interview last night that the father had a real problem looking in to the camera. That is one of the first signs of deception. People can say he was camera shy, but after being on "wife swap" a couple times and all his storm chasing videos he brags about, he should have no trouble looking straight in to the camera and tell the truth. Any guesses on the cost searching for this boy??

    October 16, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  6. Sharon Livingston

    I was just watching the news, and the article about the child and the balloon came up. Who was videotaping when the balloon took off. It looked to me like there was an adult there? I think this was a ploy on the father's part. He is a nut job, and they should be investigating the parents. This makes me sick, and angry.

    Thank you,
    Sharon Livingston

    October 16, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  7. Ralph Unger

    I did a rough estimate of the lifting power of the balloon and came up with 40lbs of lift from 1256 cubic feet of helium.Thats enought to lift a small boy, ONLY if the balloon and basket are somehow weightless, lol. And does anyone else think $2000-$4000 worth of helium is a bit much for a backyard experiment? Someone wanted to be on TV again...

    October 16, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  8. Emily

    I just saw video footage of the whole family after Falcon was found and he was holding a green glowstick. (The type found often this time of the year for halloween.) Hmmmm. Seems to me if you're going to make your child hide in a box in the attic for hours on end, a glowstick is just the tool/bribe you'd choose to send with your child. They glow for hours and kids Falcon's age absolutely love them. This whole story reeks of a publicity stunt, but regardless of whether it was or was not, I hope the the Dept. of Child Welfare thoroughly investigate this family. Taking small children on 'storm chasing' excursions is absurd. These people are constantly endangering their children's lives and they need to be stopped.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  9. cookie

    This was a hoax. The boy didn't just say (it was for the show) they should be reporting what he really said, which was (YOU said it was for the show). Forthermore, I think they may have given him something to make him sick or told him to act sick so no one could talk to him anymore and he could not slip up and say something he should not.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  10. Jimbo

    watched the live video of the balloon as it drifted across the Colorado plains and had serious doubts that anyone was aboard. Based on the dynamics of the “rock and roll” of the craft, it just did not look right. As the craft approached the ground it was readily apparent that the balloon’s volume was simply inadequate to lift much of a load. Surely the self proclaimed “scientist” builder/father should have known this and quelled the fears of a nation as the “firghtened and helpless” boy’s fate played out.

    Publicity stunt? Prank gone wrong? Only the Heene’s know for sure, but I hope the authorities figure it out and make the family pay, pay, pay.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  11. Lewis G Pauley

    I, along with all the others watched this unfold. And with all the others, was very glad it turned out OK. Now for heavens sake get off it, He is a very bright six year old with parents that let him use his mind and two other kids pushing him on. So many of our youth with bright minds are held back by overprotective parents. Down the road I expect great things from these three childern because of the path their parents started them on.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  12. gloria lewis

    I think this family finally got their wish fame ,how dumd can we be ,the kid appears after the ballon came down ,get real .This man is brilliant after so many years of trying to make it big he finally made .Unfortunately that is the society we live in get rich and famous at any price .Thats a big price to pay guess money has no heart .This is the kind of monsters the media are creating in no time this family is on everynet work owo .The kid said it loud and clear it was good for the show .How many shows they have been on ,how many videos how does he know whats real and whats not ,he is doing we they tell him we are doing a show .Wake people we all got fooled ,his emotions are even fake get real .I can see right through that scam kudos to him i wish i had the guts to be so hypocrite like him .I guess i will always be poor .

    October 16, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  13. Dan

    So Lewis, it sounds to me like you are saying this "stunt" was ok. Now, we as taxpayers, are stuck with another bill because this "family" wanted some face time in the media.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  14. Ralph Unger

    Lewis, Is hiding in the attic a great thing? His Dad did a great thing, built a kit balloon, Wow...I guess I'm great cause I can shop at Ikea.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  15. Kim

    I think we've spent enough time on this. The child is OK. There are important things going on in the world that are not being reported, and this story is really inconsequential. Move on!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  16. Cherelle Rivera

    This story really amused me. I honestly feel like it was a publicity stunt! How would a a 6-year old know to say something like that if it wasn't the truth. The fact that the father had nothing to say regarding to Falcon's answer means that it really could be the truth. Then they had Falcon hiding in a box with a glowstick!!! These parents should be ashamed of themselves!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  17. Luke B.

    This story isn't even worth covering. It's the only reason the whole thing happened. Obviously this family is starved for attention, and they're definitely getting their fill right now.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  18. Linn

    Morning,

    Again another media story blown out of content.
    Look at this balloon...you actually think this could hold a 40-60 lbs of
    weight....do the math....gezzzzz

    Linn

    October 16, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  19. HD Cross

    I just have to laugh... I feel sorry for the little boy cause to me it seems like he was hiding cause he thought he was in trouble.. I did that a lot as a child: would do something i would know is wrong and then I would run away and hide.

    But I don't feel this was a hoax or staged.. just a little boy being a little boy and his parents panicking... Think if this was your child?

    -HD

    October 16, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  20. Rick Fernandez

    The moment that I heard that a Video Camera was involved prior to the balloon take off, combined with the "UFO" shaped object, I assumed that there was some sort of publicity stunt behind it. To obvious.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  21. Joan

    I think you should stop reporting about it. If this was a publicity stunt, you are rewarding bad behavior. If the boy really did hide then the parents should be left alone and not have all this speculation directed at them.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  22. Bonnie

    I think it was for attention from the media

    October 16, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  23. Curly

    Sorry, but I have to believe the kid...I mean come on! They were on "wife swap!" It was a publicity hoax that put so many other in danger.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  24. LJ

    This family was on wife swap a while ago and I remember that the husband is a big storm chaser. Perhaps this was a hoax to get exposure for his storm chasing career. I mean, come one, that balloon was pretty professionally made and looked sophisticated–I'm sure there is a connection there–heck most kids can barely fly a regular kite!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  25. Victoria

    I smell a hoax. I think you've been punked!

    And, BTW, I am SO sick of this story! I wonder how many hours of news time were spent on this. I know CNN had it wall-to-wall during my lunch hour yesterday.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  26. liz

    If they took the media for a ride...that's exactly what media wants and needs

    October 16, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  27. bob

    a stunt it appears...and the fuel of the fire provided by newscasters like you.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  28. Janet Coleman

    I think the media was punked! As well as the public - in a way. How different is it from the reality show barrage we experience? Isn't it someone living out something like 'Honey, I shrunk the kids' ? At first I was very concerned, and frightened, then when he was found, I was incredibly relieved, then I was disappointed, then I laughed - what a range of emotions! What Drama! What a lot of material for a tv show!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  29. allan mac dowell

    The father is a total nut case with no control. This is a hoax, just look at his non-verbal while listening to his wife. He is not even looking at her while she is -crying-lol.

    And how can this thing go past 5000ft, when the father said it was made to only go 20ft around the yard.

    TOO MANY HOLES IN THE STORY !!!

    I wonder how much a Blackhawk costs per minute ! lol

    October 16, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  30. Sylvie

    These people don't look credible at all. This morning the kid was sick while beeing interviewed, the parents did not do anything about it except look at him, surprised. Police should look into this for sure.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  31. Chris

    What Little falcon said was just the tip of the iceberg, watch this interview in its entirety a few times and study the body language of ALL the family members. You’ll clearly find multiple tells that suggest they are lying.

    Chris

    Carmel New York.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  32. Tony Brown

    I think this was an attempt to garner attention. What does Mr. Heene do for a living? I have noticed in all interviews, that he doesn't look into the camera when speaking. His eyes roam all over the place but he never looks the camera "in the eye". I bet he would fail a lie detector test.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  33. Victoria Garcia

    ahhh.... you have got to love a child's innocence! – after all the "prepping and coaching" the child told the truth! he thought that he had to hide for the show! this was a big publicity stunt – end of story.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  34. dookie

    The only genuine thing that i've seen from this family was their reaction when Falcon dropped the bombshell that let the air out of their grand scheme. No pun intended.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  35. Gin

    This whole story was just that – a story...fictional. These people are media lovers and have been for years. Attention they got yesterday by the media smelled bad from the beginning. Just what kind of children are they raising anyhow? Nothing like home schooling your kids to be liars like the parents.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  36. Kellen

    I think it serves the media right to be duped when they all run out and fixate on the shiny object when there is real journalism that is lacking. How many corrupt politicians were able to do back room deals unnoticed while we all stared at this empty balloon floating around the sky? As long as the media insists on covering stupid crap, people will do, stupid crap to get on T.V.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  37. bob

    focus more on real news: human rights injustices in afghanistan and pakistan, war crimes in israel, poverty and racism in Americam....etc.
    -bob

    October 16, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  38. Glenice Kemling

    I think it was a hoax. The father and mother were not that upset about the whole thing. Why didn't they look in the attic? They should be charged for the expense of the equipment and man power that this thing cost. They, however, wanted the publicity.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  39. Michelle

    How did the boy get home from the park?

    I believe the parents knew where the boy was all along.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  40. Bill

    It all just seems to nice and neat like we are being given a nice pretty package, right down to getting the take off on video. What are the odds?

    re: the childs "show" comment. It is conceivable to me that a 6 year old wouldn't understand the difference between a "show" and the new media and may have been refering to the circus going on outsid as a show.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  41. Jeremy

    It definitely was a hoax! Falcon said "because you guys said it was for a show." The father replies "man..." and the mother replies "no we didn't." Why did he say you did if you didn't? Later in the interview they ask Falcon a similar question. Falcon's older brother whispers "don't say it."

    October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  42. Kay

    Tony:

    Doesn't Colorado have truancy laws? Why weren't these boys in school?

    My local newspaper ran a story on the above subject. from AP. A comment was made about a neighbor seeing the siblings "on the roof". Do these parents need help with parenting skills? My children were NOT angels, but a parent needs all the skills possible to raise healty, well-adjusted children. A roof is not a safe place for children to be playing.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  43. Mitchell

    According to the on air experts yesterday the balloon did not have enough lift to carry a 6 year old 50 pound child to the hight and speed it was traveling. The father had to have been very well aware of that, hes a scientist who built it!!! Im beginning to think this might have been a hoax after all.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  44. Anonymous

    I think the local authorities should investigate further into the negligence and carelessness that this man exercised in the security and safety of this aircraft and also the supervision of his child.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  45. Jesse Lane

    My question yesterday when I saw this was: Why is CNN postponing other topics to follow this story? If you have to make up a story about your child being in a life threatening situation to get some media attention then Karma is going to bite you in the butt some day. Giving them the benefit of the doubt however; I'm just glad the child is safe and unharmed.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  46. Laura

    I think there is something to be suspect with this incident. hen I heard it was a family from wife swap I was curious as I watch that show. A soon as I saw, I shook my head remembering how on that show the family was accused of being reckless and not considering safety. The father was nothing but rude and obstinate to the other wife on that show, not to mention childish. It would not surprise me one bit if this was a stunt to gain some sort of publicity. I hope the family has to help pay for all the services that were used that day to find their kid. They should have called the police and searched their house...which they obviously did not. Shame on them!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  47. Bill Rouady

    I want to know why nobody is investigating the lift capability of the balloon. When I saw the video of the balloon close up, it looks like it may be 10 or 12 feet across and shaped like a flattened sphere. A weather balloon (online) that has a 8 foot diameter and round (more cubic area) can only lift 15 pounds!
    The father is a meteorologist who constructed this balloon. He would have been completely aware of its carrying capacity. The boy is probably close to 50 pounds.
    That's also not including the weight of the weather equipment which I assume was already on board since it was launching shortly.
    Finally, I also don't see where the boy would have been in the balloon. The small circular package below the bottom doesn't seem large enough to hold him.
    Why doesn't someone look into the feasibility which, again, the father would be completely aware of.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  48. Eunice Lee

    I watched Larry King Live yesterday and couldn't believe Falcon said, "...it was for a show." Immediately after, I tentatively watched the interview and examined how the father answered the questions. A lot of the answers seemed like he was beating around the bush and were very vague. Definitely seemed like it was a hoax. After all, the publicity may help his kids become a boy band group.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  49. Desiree

    Hey I have a kid.... Kids will be kids. But what the heck was that air balloon doing in the back yard, Tony? The father should feel completely foolish and if anything had happened to that little boy the father would be guilty. Just like a pool, you pay a little more attention to your yard. Which obviously they hadn't.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  50. frankscarpelli

    No doubt, these people should be questioned further–particularly the children. This fiasco cost tax payers tens of thousands of dollars and if it was a publicity stunt, well... "book em Danno." The father has very little credibility based on his demeanor and behavior, both past and present, in my opinion. Absurd! Absurd! Absurd!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  51. Peggy Richardson

    Re: balloon hoax, Hey Tony? don't you get it,This guy is getting exactly what he wanted, PUBLICITY. They were on every news show yesterday and you continue to follow up on it. He is getting the most FREE publicity anyone could have. Enough already.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  52. David Alexander

    Tony, look deeper. This couple was also on "Wife Swap." Maybe they are just trying to make the circuits. They were on air just this past week and the program gives insight to credibility.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  53. John

    Tony, Tony, Tony
    Please take a good look at the Hot Air ballon and let me know if you think that it would even hold a child while in the air.
    This Ballon would not even get off of the ground with this Child on board......We had a good laugh with all of the people thinking that he was actually on board of the baloon.....Time to move on with this STORY...

    October 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  54. M.D. Carter

    Complete hoax! Period. This family, led by this kookie dad, has a history of reality TV (Wife Swap) attempts...finally culminating with this desperate stunt. The media should immediately stop covering this sham, and law enforcement should step in to investigate potential wrong doings and pursue charges. Let's pull the plug on Jon, Kate, Spencer and Heidi while we're at it!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  55. Linda

    Tony:
    If this family wanted Coverage, you guys are the first on the scene.
    CNN Coverage with LK..I mean all day long. We have more serious
    problems in the world and you are running this child and his
    family in the ground. How much money are they making.
    Leave the family alone. At least their father is trying to do
    things to make this world better. Was a million offer to make
    transportation better earlier in 2008.
    lh

    October 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  56. Chris

    I hope this man goes to prison for what he did. Thank God there wasn’t a real emergency while you they were staging this. ANYONE that knows ANYTHING about body language and basic human physiology can find about a hundred tells in this interview that suggest this is a hoax. I hope they make him and his wife pay in full for what they did.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  57. Ralph Unger

    Did we all forget the balloon expert who said it was a kit balloon? All I hear now is that it was homemade.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  58. Lawana

    Out of the mouth of babes!
    Did anyone notice how the boys looked at their father. The look on their face seemed to show fear of him.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  59. Pat Abernathy

    Tony,

    I must say that this sounds very much like media seeking behavior on the part of the father. This is not an uncommon phenomenon occurring in certain individuals after recent exposure after recent exposure to the glamor of their first television or film production experience. It's almost like a drug. After your first significance film or television appearance, "acting" and the attention and notoriety gets into your blood and you are instantly looking feverishly for your next fix. I have experienced this myself. This is why many actors accept much lesser-quality roles for their second projects just to get back under the lights. It troubles me that the children may have been taught this unsafe behavior.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  60. Jackie FL

    Yes, I think it was a hoax. Children don't lie at a young age, he was just telling the truth,when asked the question by his dad that Wolf had asked.

    Another thing to consider is, how would a six year old be able to pull down attic steps without a ladder? He is small and would have to have climbed on something to pull those attic stairs down. And, those attic stairs are very heavy, we have them in our home.

    And the child getting sick on two separate shows this morning when asked if it was all a hoax. Stress vomiting. I also noticed during the Wolf interview that the 10 year old was always looking down. It seemed to me that he was lying. The dad was also takling a lot about the balloon, as if he was selling it, rather than talking about his child who was suppose to be on board.

    The father was kind of hyper I thought, as well as Falcon. Which leads me to think it was a hoax, a hyper active child can NOT possibly hide for four hours on his own, unless directed to do so.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  61. Judy Loverde

    The entire family should be required to make restitution for expending the time and expense of their community for this farce–lack of a better word. I suggest community service on the part of the father, mother, and siblings as well as something extra for the child who is obviously undisciplined (maybe a couple weeks' allowance, tv games, etc.). This family's free-spirited actions, all of them, should not be something we need to pay for. I hope the father is satisfied he has brought this dangerous publicity over his family.j

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  62. john boardman

    There is one way to fix this idiot family. make them pay for all the emergency services that were activated for there little play for attention. Colorado child protection services should investigate the parents that they can't find there own kids in there own house! they want to be on reality shows this bad!!!!!!! john boardman

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  63. Ken

    The father is lying. One thing that bugs me is that in replays of the boy's statement that amounts to admission of fraud and falsifying a police report what isn't now being shown is right after the boy said what he did, the father sat there looking to his right, toward his son, and says "man" and looks shocked and gets shaky and it was like someone getting caught in the act of something. For 3 to 5 minutes after that the father was acting really suspicious and seemed to be thinking to himself "did I just get caught or can I keep going with this." Also, the mother said "No" to the boy right after her husband grumbled "man". To me this indicates "no, that is not right." How does her saying "No" right then make ANY sense otherwise?

    I'd like to see a criminal behaviorist (or whatever they are called) on CNN analyzing that whole portion and the next 5 minutes as well as the end when Wolf confronted him.

    This is simple. Falcon and his two brothers need to be assigned advocates to be in a room with investigators, one at a time, that specialize in questioning young witnesses and victims and find out what really happened here.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  64. Mike Cassam

    This is absolutely a hoax. A combination of the child's comments on Larry king, the fathers very poor, and overly emotional performance after the child was found, and the family video showing the father releasing the the balloon himself in the backyard, really point to a publicity stunt. The guy wanted to get his face and his balloon on TV. As a result of this act, the entire nation knows who the father is, and the entire nations has seen his invention. The family should absolutely pay for the cost of the rescue attempt.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  65. Arnie C. Dienoff

    Tony:

    This situation of the balloon has turned in strange way. With the two (2) appearances on "Wife Swap," the entertainment and feel may has gotten to the husband's head. This Cause warrants an investigation by the County Sheriff's Department. Especailly since the family viedio-taped the balloon lifting off?

    I am thankful that the little boy did not get in the balloon for its journey and am also grateful that the balloon did not cause harm to the air traffic across the State.

    Arnie Dienoff, Missouri

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  66. Justin

    Tony I think this was cleary a publictiy stunt, who would make a weather gathering baloon that looks exactly like a classic UFO, and another thing, how would a young boy get into the attic without his father putting him up there. I also saw a piece of video showing the father actually releasing the ballon at liftoff, so wouldn't he have known then and there the boy was in a good hiding place? I feel they should be footing the bill and owe all the people who were sincerely worried an appology.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  67. Linda Fragassi

    This is a stunt rigged up by the father. He wanted the public to see his new balloon............
    I hope this family gets Charged for the total cost of everyones time and expense on this phoney story.
    The mother did not even seem upset when she thought her son was up in that balloon.
    These parents need to realize they cannot use their kids, that is probably why the 6 year old got sick, from lying.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  68. David Grosekemper

    No doubt about it, Wolf Blitzer nailed him dead to rights! The body language and unscripted answers of the entire family speaks volumes about what really transpired. The world was duped by these attention seeking people. It just didn't add up and Wolf knew it! It's not over yet, as law enforcement takes another look.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  69. Brenda

    Tony,
    I realize this story of the little boy, the Duggers and Jon and Kate plus 8 are interesting to those who pick up the National Enquirer, but millions of people are sitting and waiting to see if the can feed their families.
    The unemployment extension passed the House and his held up in the Senate by the Republicans. Will you please report on this story that directly impacts millions of American.
    I would appreciate some real journalism for a change.
    Thank You

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  70. karen

    This was nothing more than a publicity stunt for the adults in this sick family. I think it was pretty stupid. Maybe social services need to get involved as these kids are in a strange environment.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  71. Jesse From New York

    I said to my brother from the start that this was a hoax! There is no way if the boy fell out of the balloon, government officials would not have found him immediately. It is not as if the balloon traveled across the ocean, it was a fairly small distance with officials searching.

    I find it hard to believe the boy didn't come out of hiding once the entire day, while his family and police searched high and low for him. The only way this would be conceivable is if he was afraid of some sort of abuse from his father for tampering with the balloon.
    More likely though... his where abouts were known by his family and this was a hoax to receive media attention. The family has starred on reality tv shows in the past, so the idea they seek out attention is not out of the question.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  72. Theresa

    Very obviously a horrible hoax! The father actually called his local news channel BEFORE even calling 911! This family took advantage of so many good people! I was personally glued to the TV all afternoon, praying for Falcon's safety; how naive I feel now!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  73. B Hintz

    I was shocked people immediately jumped to conclusions. I do not think it was planned.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  74. Gary Towers

    If this was a hoax as is being alleged, what was not considered by the parents was the propensity of 6 year old kids to be honest.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  75. June

    As soon as I heard this family was on wife swap, I said it was for publicity...Anyone who would be on a reality show would probably do just about anything to be in front of the camera and on Larry King Live...If proven, the Heane family should pay in some way for wasting everyones time and effort....

    October 16, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  76. Judy

    It's pretty obvious that being on camera is important to this whole family. The family's response to yesterday's incident is a bunch of hooey. The boy couldn't sit still for two minutes during the CNN interview, and the parents are claiming he was confined inside a box for hours. No way. The sheriff' needs to do a follow-up investigation by checking the weight capacity and condition of the cardboard box and have the boy reenact how he was able to climb into the attic rafters and position himself inside a box without falling. Yesterday's fiasco aside, the parents should be charged with child endangerment for taking their sons on dangerous storm chasing antics.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  77. Tim G.

    Hey, Tony... at this point, this balloon hoax or horror story is entertaining for all of us, only because Falcon is safe. However, the authorities owe it to the public, especially those who sat nervously watching, praying, and hoping for falcon's safety, to ensure this family is on the up and up. Things just don't seem to add up very well and Falcon's statement about "doing it for a show" does raise suspicions. I'm sure professionals who specialize in child abuse and child endangerment could either legitimize the story or uncover the dirt. Don't let up until we know the absolute truth. If this was fraud, we don't want others being tempted to endulge in such behavior.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  78. Robert B. Morshe

    This is how I see it:
    (1) the father was not 100% sure where his son was, and given comments form the other son, and given that he had no access to the balloon, the idea that he was there was an option;
    (2) he may be a man of science, but may not know exactly what he had in that balloon (in as far as helium mass et cetera) and had reason to doubt; what would you do if your kid was missing?
    (3) the best possible outcome came true; the kid was hiding at home (I used to do this as a kid – same age – for hours); are we upset because we don't see blood?
    (4) the kid made a comment because he saw a bunch of cameras and related it to the show; I used to make up stories as a child myself ALL the time;
    (5) give this family some peace; respect what they have been through.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  79. tammy

    Can you not leave this poor family alone? I watched the full Larry King show and it was very clear the emotional turmoil the parents went through that day. The mother's surprise response to Falcon when she realized he had heard people calling for him, is completely typical and expected for someone who thought there child was lost or worse. While it may have seemed strange what the boy said, we all know six year olds can say strange things as they misunderstand what was being asked. The explanation given by the dad on American morning today makes a lot of sense if you think about it from a six year old's point of view. We need to let this family heal and get over their shock.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  80. pepe

    im glad the kid was safe, so their is no news their just leave it alone, the truth is that companys that have taken billions of dollars an want to give out bonus thats news, here is the deal why not pay back the bail out money, so it be put to use else where it is really needed, this people dont need more 5,000 dlls suits, lets put an end to this bonus and congress needs to step in now an request thoose bonus an help poeple that r living in the streets shelder homes cause they lost their jobs and homes,,

    October 16, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  81. Garrett

    After watching the interview several times, I believe the balloon escaping was a true accident. The father called the FAA first because he probably felt responsible for the balloon ivading air space without proper authority. While talking about the escaped balloon to the FAA he probably didn't know exactly were Falcon was or he may have, but he mentioned there's a possibility that his son was on board and didn't want any planes to hit it. He may have added this fact in to try to make it more alarming to FAA so it wouldn't cause a mid air accident, thus he would be responsible. So if it's said that there's a child possibly inside then everyone's ears perk up and now FAA and other authorities are taking this really seriously. Therefore, there's a better chance that this balloon will not cause an accident. I believe, judging from what I have seen, the father told his son, Falcon, to go and hide when he realized that this was going public, so as to help apply some truth to his statements to the FAA, because if it were found out that he lied to the FAA and other authorities, well then your going to have to fit the bill, and your pride is on the line as well.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  82. Harrinton

    It's clearly a hoax as anyone can see the bottom of the ballon was not breached in anyway as well as given the nature of this man and his family when they appeared on TV.
    I don't see how you guys can't see the inconcestancies between the evidence and they're stories, which is exzactly what this is just another story made to gain attention from the media, and they foot not some of the billl but all of it.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  83. Reyes

    Knew it was a publicity stunt when I saw the ballon and realized that it could not carry a 50 pound kid. It was planed by the stoner dad to get his ballon on televison.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  84. Michael Davis

    The balloon boy incident has hoax written all over it. Why don't investigators request that the father to summit to a lie detector test?
    If anyone falls for this phony story they must of been near the balloon, when it was being filled with hellium and consequently sucked-up some of the fumes.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  85. Eddie_Tee

    The whole thing was STAGED.... a HOAX!!
    The kid spilled it on LKL.....it was all made up for the cameras.

    Why were'nt the family out 'looking' for the kid...? and why were'nt thy seemed more 'elated' at the 'finding' of their son..?

    The authorities should let them pay for the coast of search and rescue operation.
    Its a shame!!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  86. Sarah

    After watching "Larry King Live" last night, I truly believe this was a hoax set up by Mr. Heene and it makes me sick, especially after being glued to CNN for two hours during my workday yesterday praying that Falcon was ok. If true, the family should be responsible for the cost of the emergency response yesterday, not the taxpayers, and the media should not devote one more minute to this family.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  87. Vivian L. Sessoms

    Hi Tony

    Yes, I think that it was a hoax! People will do anything for their five minutes of fame! We are a lying nation! I think this pathetic man should be fined, or arrested for this wasteful use of public resources – but he is white, and therefore, he will be allowed to remain free. If he were an ethnic minority he would be arrested and jailed. This country has a double standard of justice.... but, whats new?

    But, I rarely watch CNN anymore, since Turner left as CEO. The quality of broadcasting has really diminished in the last few year. I do, however, watch your show on CNN. I think it was irresponsible journalism for CNN to follow a balloon for hours while there are such serious problems around the globe, especially here in this country, and with so much homelessness, poverty and corruption. Certainly CNN could have found something else to cover?!?!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  88. susan ramirez

    I feel real sorry for the child. He seems to be manipulated by his father. Mrs. Heene comes of as way too quiet for a mom who thought her baby was floating away. Mr. Heene handled himself like a seasoned politician. He answered most of the questions with his message of the day... that he is interesting, scientific and "TV worthy". Yep, we got played.
    The time, effort, resources were put to appropriate use because we thought a child was in danger. The family needs to do some serious soul searching.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  89. Sona Harris

    Watching the interview this morning the mother and father appeared to be crying and distressed. It seemed fake and staged not real feelings at all and then the father just dismisses the comment made by his son about a television show. This was definately staged and a waste of our time and a play on our intelligence. The national guard was involved as well as lots of man hours and emergency officials. There should be some reprocutions for ths family. Obama got lots of comments and anger for taking his wife on a date in the jet is this not along the same lines? This family was also on wife swap, not hard to see what's going on here. We are in a recession, no time for this!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  90. Mirellise Vazquez

    This story is getting too much coverage and is not real news. If this was a hoax, the family should reimburse the authorities for all of the costs associated with the mishap.

    I would like to give kudos to Stephanie Elam for standing firm on her position regarding the reality of what is happening in the economy, particularly on the Wall Street rally and compensation. Not everyone who works in the financial sector (if they still have their jobs) are millionaires or even close. They too are taxpayers and have had to deal with lay-offs and pay cuts. We have to stop villifying the financial sector as a whole for problems caused by a few irresposnsible and greedy people. This does not mean, however, that there shouldn't be more regulation, as there definitely needs to be. But let's be honest about how the economy works, and let's recognize that Wall Street doing well is part of the recovery, and that jobs is another part which will hopefully start improving once confidence is regained and speding increases. If we treat the economy (and for that matter politics) as a game of winners and losers, we are never going to get back on our feet as a country.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  91. Nancy

    Tony, There is a reason the father is not an actor. HE CANT ACT.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  92. A.T.

    This did not sound right to start with,the whole thing stinks to high heaven ,
    1 the dad responce was unusual from minute one.he yells at the kid then leaves him with the balloon?
    2 none of the ropes were tied properly?
    3 the dad was supposed to be knowlegeable about the whole ballon thing and didnt know that this ballon did not have the capability of lifting a six years old up in the air?
    4 the kid confessed for god sakes.
    5 both parents looked fake and never make in show bus if that was the reason for this dog and pony show.
    are you kidding me?
    they should be charged for fraud and should pay for the cost of the rescue mission and child services should be called to take a closer look at this strange family.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  93. David Vincent

    I have no question that this was a hoax!!! We all need to stop trying not to face the truth and face it. These parents are out for publicity just as they have been in the past on reality shows. This was an aweful way of getting publicity but that's exacty what they intended to do. Falcon told it all in the interview, and did you see the response of his father after he said his father said, "it was a show." Wake up people this guy ought to be thrown in jail !!!!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  94. Walter J

    This family made a grave error in trying to share their feelings with the American public.
    The conspiracy nuts have their field day every time

    October 16, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  95. Theresa

    Wouldn't it be nice if all we had to worry about in the world was if this kid and/or his family staged all this, or if it was an unfortunate accident? If this was just a ploy to get media attention, you are giving them just what they wanted. Why not focus on something that really matters - like global warming, national health care, human rights, etc. - instead of giving this story anymore air time. Enough already!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  96. Evelyn Cowley

    I am always amazed at the people who are involved in these sorts of things. In my humble opinion, this is another case of narcissistic behavior where a parent is so busy with his own agenda that he fails to think of others. This man obviously didn't think of his children when he took them in the van to seek ou tornadoes. As a self-proclaimed storm chaser, he can do what he'd like to fuel his fanciful dreams. But to take his young children on that ride is ridiculous!

    Wife swapping allowe much attention and now this. Where does good parenting and common sense exist in this fellow?! Most parents wouldn't have the balloon where children could have access to it. We all know that children will find the most exciting things to do without regard to the consequences – it's what children do. Why was this balloon teathered in the back yard without precautions for these young children?

    This didn't only require financial costs for all the good souls who scrambled to keep up with the balloon. Others were affected as well – people on the planes that were delayed, the extended family of Falcon, and other concerned parents thanking God that it wasn't their child and praying for a good outcome.

    Not only should the Larimer County Sheriff's Department take another look, but Social Services should think of investigating.

    As a parent I try to think ahead of what the outcome might be especially when children are involved. Many of us deal with narcisistic folks all the time in the form of parents too busy lookin out after themselves and having no time to watch and nurture their children.

    A friend once told me that to have common sense one must first have good sense. Of course, that requires some common sense.

    Evelyn Crowley
    Sidney, NY

    October 16, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  97. ROCKET

    Clearly the entire saga was a hoax, free media stunt, and taxpayers stuck with the bill, as you can tell by the look of Richard Heene's facial gesture that he was not telling the truth, and also his son's comment "we did it for the show"
    Please get this free media stunt off the air. Thank you.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  98. larry d. martin

    What better way to test a balloon and have it tracked ,he couldn't do it so he had the FAA and police do it.People have cars stolen all the time and falsely report a child inside.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  99. Rick Fernandez

    It could had made a great story book for pre-school had the boy had actually been in the balloon and survived. The title, "The Ballon Boy", now is seems that the book title will be, "Boy Visits Dad In Jail", it would make a great read for the jail library.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  100. John J. Moon

    One would think CNN viewers would be a little bit more reserved in making judgments based on a few clips.

    Use your heads, here we have a 6-year old boy, who's been on two "reality" tv shows, was asked by a cameraman to re-enact his descent from the attic for a show.

    What's more likely, an attention-deprived middle aged father risking arrest and financial liability by lying OR a confused 6-year old boy afraid of punishment.

    Not everything in life is controversial and scandalous.

    Sometimes, innocent events make it onto the news and become perverted.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  101. Anne

    If it wasn't a hoax, when Mr. Heene saw in all the video coverage that the supposed box was not seen in the videos, and that since he designed it he knew there was no place for the boy in the balloon, why didn't he tell authorities that Falcon wasn't up there? Why did he let the authorities and the media use resources to continue to follow an empty balloon?

    October 16, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  102. Jessica R

    I'm amazed how quickly this story became national news. It all sounded a little fishy from the beginning and in subsequent interviews, the family hardly appeared credible. Im all for free-spirited parenting, but when you teach your children that is ok to exploite the media and police resources for "fun" then it crosses the line.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  103. Robert Gray

    Two things not accounted for:

    1. That balloon wouldn't have even left the ground if the gondola held an additional ten pounds so forget about the child's mass. Where is the common sense in the sheriff's analysis?

    2. There was some consideration given to a helicopter rescue? Surely you weren't serious in that report. Helicopter...? Downdraft...? Dah!!!?

    October 16, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  104. Bart

    It's clear to me that this is a hoax, first of all the Dad can't even look at the camera and answer the questions, he appears very nervous, uncomfortable not to mention defensive and his attempts to be emotional and distraught is so poorly acted it's laughable. If you look at the balloon at lift off it's clear from the construction that if anything was inside much less fifty pound boy, you would have easily noticed it because there would have been some stress and resistance placed on the bottom and this would have been very noticeable, besides given it’s construction there is no way it would have picked up a six year old child and this self proclaimed scientist would have known this as well. The Dad needs to be held accountable and made to pay for the rescue effort and apologize to the public.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  105. Norman Dale

    I am sure that this father had to know that his son could not have been inside this balloon. He would know if there was a space not filled with helium, which we cannot breath. A little investigation by law enforcement would have found that this is not enough helium to lift a small child. It obviously did not behave as if it had any load in it from the initial liftoff. In the liftoff video the father and mother were standing near. At liftoff the father began kicking the ground in frustration, before the static lines were out of reach. If he thought that there was any chance that it would lift a child, and if he knew there was a space inside for that purpose, would any parent not make sure that all the kids were present and accounted for before letting this balloon lift off? One look at this families history of publicity stunts, hunger for exposure, money and notoriety seems obvious to me. Just watch the utube video of these young boys in their obnoxious rapper type video shows a pattern of negative influence. I think the next news exposure should be children services investigating this families patterns of child endangering. Furthermore, they should be fully investigated and if guilty, made to pay fully for all the costs of this stunt and cited for inducing mass panic. I for one am completely incensed with this on every level.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  106. mike sey

    Let's not forget that this over-played non-story follows closely on the heels of CNN's breathless coverage of the 'Terrorists boating on the Potomac' non-story. It was another sad spectacle of media panic, speculation and sensationalism topped by the pathetic picture of Investigative reporter Wolf Blitzer grilling a tired six-year old boy for an hour on live Television and then exploiting one answer to spin the story further. The boy should have been in bed; So should Blitzer, after all an exhausted six year-old boy who did what six year-olds do is hardly a match for a seasoned newsman like Wolf.

    With coverage like this no wonder Americans are becoming a nation of jittery, confused, off-center celebrity worshipers and self promoters.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  107. Russ

    Tony,
    As a retired Fire Captain of 34 yrs. I feel that in fact , if the family made a false alarm call , they put rescuers, ground and air in an unnessasary position for this situation. During this event if one or more of these rescurers had been injured or killed, ie. helicopter into powelines, etc., the individuals making the false call should be responsible for their deaths. So, bottom line is that they need to be sited for this false call, (if it was one), and financally responsible to repay the county / state responders for their services.

    Russ

    October 16, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  108. Jean Vigneault

    The father is lying.
    The craft never had an extra 50 lbs lifting capacity to
    get his 50 pound boy in the air. He said there was electrical equipment onboard with batteries and the balloon was barely floating.
    It was in almost perfect equilibrium.
    If the balloon ever had an extra 50 pound lifting capacity, the father would have known that because of the tension it would have exerted on the straps needed to keep it on the ground.
    At touchdown, we could estimate the volume of the craft at about 12 cubic metres for a gross lifting capacity of 25 pounds less the weight of the craft and the payload. Lifting an extra 50 pounds was physically impossible an the father knew it all along.
    The father is lying.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  109. ROCKET

    Thanks God it wasn't a terrorist attack, and the boy was safe.
    This kind of free media stunt would give the terrorist some idea.
    I think FAA must restrict this kind of self proclaim scientist stunt. Thank you.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  110. Houston, TX

    My husband and I followed this story from beginning to end on CNN at work yesterday. I was in tears when the balloon landed and Falcon was not in it, and they said he may have fallen out... My husband said he thought the boy was never in it, that Falcon let the balloon go and that he was hiding bc he was scared of getting in trouble. So when they announced that the boy was in fact at home hiding, I felt like it was the happiest day in my life. I was so relieved and I told my husband he was right. I didn't even care about being mad, I was just so glad that he was ok... But now I'm hearing that Falcon said "You said it was for the show" I'm sorry but children don't lie about things like that. This was clearly a hoax set up by the parents and it makes me sick to my stomach. These kids are definately in danger... what kind of parent...??? Storm chases?? Balloon hoax?? Seriously??? It was definately about publicity. And I think it is outrageous that this man would use his children like that for such a selfish purpose, what is he teaching his kids? that its ok to lie to the whole world??? And it was not just the viewers that were decieved, what about all the law enforcement that was involved, even in Washington they were organizing a team to devise a plan to rescue the boy... and we all saw how that man ran like his life depended on catching that balloon when it landed and how plexed all those men where when Falcon was not in the balloon.. I think the parents should be locked up and the kids sent to live with family, or someone else that can actually take care of them.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  111. wayne

    once again, the major network news groups sensationalize the "news" by leading us on before getting all the facts. the larimer county sheriff should have done more and better investigation before being allowed to be interviewed. the time and resources that were consumed and wasted during and after this "story" is shameful. glad he is ok, but this "story" was pumped up too big before getting all the facts. thanks, w.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  112. Al Hemerson

    Tony,
    Well here is a clear case of irrisponsible parents trying to make a buck off of the children. Please send the bill for the emergency crew and athorities to the parents and see how long it takes them to pay.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  113. Nancy

    I'm a pilot and I know the saying the FAA is here to help you. If my child had just been swept up in the air by a balloon I would call 911 first. This was too thought out for the father to call The FAA.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  114. Yanira Gonzalez

    I think yesterday televised news of this "scripted" situation, is a perfect example of what are the priorities of American media.

    If we can put it in perspective, it took approximately 8 hours of forecasting, and during that time the following was happening in the streets, schools and roads of America:

    1- About 1000 children were abducted
    2-An average of 10-15 young people ages 10 to 24 were murdered
    3. An average of 20-40 of middle school/high school students engaged in act of violence or bullying
    4. Approximately six people were killed by a drunk driver (assuming it happens every 40 minutes in US
    5-More than 10 children were recovering from injuries inflicted by a peer.

    This family should be penalized, and they should undergo training in the fundamentals of responsible behavior and common sense.

    Stop giving them what they want, publicity.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  115. Al

    Number 1 you people watch all these reallity shows so they just make more. So you give people like this family the idea to make money this way. Remember Galileo gave his daughter to the church to stay out of jail. Number 2 the other comments above I see the big focus is on the only thing Americans covet $$$$$$$ , not the child or anything else.
    Number 3 Look at your family Do you spend the time with your kids learning or watching Simpson or South Park, Family Guy , or the other Antisocial TV? Do you have great family adventures or give the kids there cell and Money and turn them loose to go burn another child to death? Now you cry Whats wrong whih our kids. Well it,s time for all of us to get our heads out of the dark place and take charge as parents not best friends to our kids. If you want a BFF get a dog not a child!!!!

    Straighten Out Your family Then you have can worry about others that might be different.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  116. Joe Harmon

    Daddy, Daddy
    Ego Trip
    "For a show"
    Was Falcon's Slip

    He did it all
    To make us stare,
    The balloon's not all
    With hot air!

    October 16, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  117. Ron

    Last night, the kid said he hid in the attic to "help the show." Which show? This put the father on the spot. It was fun watching him squirm.

    This morning, the father tells the Today Show that he "never thought it would go this far." What? When you were planning this little publicity stunt that got out of hand?

    The video taken by the father of the takeoff didn't show any attached 'box' that I could see.

    And you THINK if may have been a hoax? The media have been had.

    Something's rotten and it's not in Denmark.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  118. Denise

    Please stop reporting on this. It's getting more air time than it deserves. I'm bored with it. This happens alot lately.

    October 16, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  119. J.V.

    Mr Harris:
    On the Balloon story. Many saw the interview. I feel many agree that there are to many LIES.
    1- The video shows no basket attached to the balloon on take off.
    2- The older brother said he recorded his younger brother Falcon getting in to the Balloon basket. Why were the police not shown this?
    3-The father, so called INVENTOR. Failed to explain to the police that the math ratio of helium gas to his son's weight was a very important.
    4- The interview that Wolf did. I feel shows the father backed in to a corner when a question was directed at the son Falcon. I see the father chocking on his words, searching for words. Resulting in LIES !
    5- CNN, I think Wolf was to soft with this interview. My understanding that CNN is out to deliver the news with INTEGRITY ! I've read a lot of comments on Larry Kings and Anderson's 360 blogs of viewers upset with the reporting of this balloon story of LIES.
    6- Seems like child services should look real hard into this.
    Than you for your time and allowing me to share some of my thoughts & feelings.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  120. Ralph Unger

    Just watched the vidoe again, the balloon was held down with very small strings, so I doubt it had much lift. Ropes, not string are used to hold down balloons that can lift a payload.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  121. Ray

    The Media need to get off of this families back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  122. Jackie FL

    Question all of the children alone one by one at the police station. It will all come out then.

    The boy who cried wolf, oh I mean the parents who cried wolf.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  123. Mark

    When Wolf asked the dad to ask Falcon why he did not come when he heard everyone calling for him? Falcon said " You guys said that we did this for a show." My question is why mom and dad haden't already asked Falcon why he did not come when he heard them calling for him? Why is Wolf the first person to ask Falcon why he did not come when he heard them calling for him? As a parant I would of asked the boy upon seeing him, did you hear us calling for you? Why did you not come when you heard us calling for you? The parants are lying and they are getting their children to lie. Lets see if the parants will lie to the Feds?

    October 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  124. Dodie ~ California

    Search Internet for: Go Falcon Go Tee Shirt ..... you will find Tee shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc. all for sale at big prices.

    I suspect this was a stunt to capture the media. Why?? Here are about 5,000 to 10,000 good reasons for this stunt. It is called "money"

    Now who would purchase these T shirts unless it hit the media.. Therefore, CNN, and all other Medias just increased the sales of these T shirts by 5,000 to 10,000 fold!

    I always say....follow the money trail and you will find your answer!

    @ Denise

    I completely agree and second your motion!

    October 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  125. Jackie FL

    Another thought, To clear this all up, the parents should volunteer to take a polygraph. If they won't, then you have your answer.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  126. Kurt

    I just saw the interview and videos this morning. I’m not a ballooner, but even I can see there is no payload on this balloon. If this nitwit egotist has “Hundreds of hours of work” in this balloon thing, he knows full well it’s too small to even lift a few bricks. He’s very clever in playing the public by withholding this information and avoiding specific questions. It would be fun to see him arrested, and the associated lawyer frenzy, but his time would be better served by being a proper father and provider for his family. No hoaxes please. We have enough in Colorado.
    Kurt, Denver

    October 16, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  127. Ralph Unger

    Questions for the local police,
    How much did the balloon cost? How much did the helium gas cost? Why was a device dangerous to children left in the backyard? As in ,keys left in a car, loaded gun left in the backyard. Why aren't these people already in jail for reckless endangerment of a child? This is not science, this is irreponsible parenting at it's worst .It was not an invention as he said, it was a kit . bought and inflated like a birthday balloon, no science done here. Just a stunt that cost the state plenty.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  128. Wylie

    I am mad that these parents are crying wolf!! These things do happen and it is scary!
    It is obvious that this was a hoax! When they interview the family, the mom is nodding her head yes, encouraging the boy to say yes and the dad is shakes his head when the boy does not answer the way he wants him to. Now they are going to reinterview them and the dad has the opportunity to prep the kid. Nothing makes sense it is a hoax!

    October 16, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  129. Dodie ~ California

    Does anyone realize how much helium it would take in a balloon to lift a 50 lb child along with a basket? If you know that, you would not even entertain the question if the boy was in the balloon's basket (wherever that is) I never saw a basket.

    The father is a scientist. He would know that balloon is NOT big enough!

    He probably ran out of money and was desperate... so being the creative soul he is, he created this publicity stunt. He is now selling t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, being interviewed on the today show... on and on and on. So I can think about 50,000 good reasons for the family to do this. Its called (( money ))

    October 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  130. Joanne

    Questionable incidences/coincidences

    The father put helium into the balloon to inflate it –obviously he was intending to launch it. If so, and since they claim these things are a family affair and were video taping it, why didn’t they make sure all the kids were present? Why didn’t the father grab one of the several feet long tether ropes when the balloon started to drift upward – slowly. He could have easily done that and his wife could have grabbed one too. It was right in front of them. Also, since this was video taped, why didn’t they or the police check the video? Why didn’t the police bring dogs out to search for the boy? They would have sniffed him out.

    There being two parents present, even if the father stepped out of the area, why didn’t the mother notice what was going on or that the boy was not present to watch this big event that the family was putting together? Why didn’t they call for him before they proceeded? What were the parents doing the whole time the rest of the country was watching the news? The father said they didn’t watch because they don’t have cable – well, didn’t that give them time to search the entire house or watch the video which would have shown the boy getting out of the balloon? Did the police ever confront the oldest brother who was holding the video camera who would have seen the brother not only go in but also OUT so he “lied” about his brother still being in there?

    Then how convenient it was to end the story with the boy coming out of his hiding place only after the landing and just before the ground search began. I wonder what the signal was from the parents for the kid to come out from his hiding place? Was it just the father going out to the garage and calling him? Was there ever any search party started? Why didn’t neighbors come over and help look for the boy? Why was information so difficult to obtain from the parents when all this was happening? Why didn’t they say something about a box that was supposedly under the balloon earlier instead of waiting 2 hours?

    The timing – this balloon could have drifted for days had it been sealed properly and the boy could not have hidden for that long. Wasn’t it convenient that it had just enough leakage to last for only a few hours? Was that helped by the father?

    Endangerment – Had this balloon hit a high tension wire, it could have blackened out an electrical power grid for homes and businesses, maybe even some traffic lights. And if it drifted high enough, what would have happened if it had gotten sucked into a jet engine? In the Larry King Live show, the father was talking about using high voltage electricity – isn’t it dangerous to have children around that? Also, how did he get high voltage electricity into his residential home – a rental at that?

    Make believe – the father is a “wannabe” scientist. Just because he buys some weather toys from the internet and puts them together, it does not make him scientist. Maybe this guy needs to get a real job to support his family so he’s not so desperate to get his own TV show.

    More – Did the family give the kid any sleeping aid to keep him quiet for those hours up in the attic? Wasn’t there a lot of commotion and noise with the police and the family calling his name? And how did they get the boy to get sick on cue for the morning talk shows? Did they give him something just before going on air?

    I believe there are too many curious incidents in this story to be believable and the family has called “wolf” to the public. I just don’t trust them – too many questions.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  131. Bailey

    I don't think it was a hoax, but a a "publicity stunt" gone wrong . Everything about this incident screams of a father who wants to be on TV, regardless of what harm it may bring to his children. Why was the wife responsible for making sure this balloon was tied to trees? If you look at the video, he starts reacting BEFORE you see the ropes are not tied to the trees. Also, our local newspapers are running a story about another "wife swap" husband from New Jersey selling drugs in Ocean City Maryland.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  132. Theodore Valentine

    The Flying Balloon Fish Story

    Like the rest of the world this story had my heart in a ringer. A six year old boy, inside an accidentally launched balloon that is flying out of control. After watching this event unfold for over tww hours something did not feel right. There were too many unanswered questions. Was this a tragic accident or a publicity stunt?

    When the father held the news conference, he completely contradicted the original story told by to the two brothers. The brothers (Main Pranksters) said, they saw Falcon (The six year old) get into the aircraft and accidentally launched it. And just like this story it took off out of control.

    The Father (The Opportunist) said at the news conference, that the reason Falcon was hiding, was because earlier that day he and the boys were working on the airship. Falcon climb inside the utility box that was connected to the balloon and he yelled at Falcon. Falcon when up to the room above the garage, where he stayed during this whole ordeal. The father also said, the family watched the video of the launch to see if Falcon got into the aircraft.

    1- This means that Falcon was no where around when the balloon was launched. So, Falcon could not have been seen getting into the balloon or accidentally launching it.

    2- This means that not only was this a planned launch, it was video taped. So, who video taped and who launch the balloon. Plus, this was a planned event with the whole family there, so, they would have known that Falcon was not with them.

    3- The father built the airship and knew that the utility box, which was connected to the balloon, was the only place that Falcon could have been hiding. Once the father saw the first news video of the balloon flying without the utility box connected, he knew at that point Falcon was not on that balloon. However, he let this event play-out to the full extent, receiving all the attention and free publicity coming his and the family’s way.

    Now, with the family making the rounds on all the talk shows, the more they say the more it seems like they pulled a fast one on all of us.

    By, Theodore Valentine
    Fairfield, California

    October 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  133. Al Hemerson

    With the shifty eye movement and the facial expresions, I am convinced that we may have just encountered our next Presidental Candidate. No Joe the Plumber here just Joe the Balloonist.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  134. Michael

    Furthermore, don't you think that if the liitle boy was inside the balloon when it was launched, he would have been screaming and bumbing around?

    October 16, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  135. mike sey

    Kyra Phillips just asked "who are these people who make home made balloons?" More appropriate is who are these people who can't let this media fiasco go.

    Looks more and more like CNN reporters and anchors,having made themselves ridiculous all day yesterday, are taking it out on these kids and their family to cover up their own hysteria, failure to reflect, and lack of judgement.

    Holding them up to ridicule on the basis of nothing but your desire to justify your own sensationalism, and spreading of misinformation and speculation..

    A 6-year -old acted like a 6-year-old. The parents panicked quite naturally. The authorities acted responsibly and took appropriate precautions.That's it, except that a lot of CNN personnel are re-acting like irresponsible 6 year-olds too.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  136. Ralph Unger

    Fort Collins police are doing things right! My opinion means nothing and they should not make assumptions, Thats my job. Still this guy is a dangerous parent and a fraud.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  137. allan mac dowell

    make the father pass a polygraph.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  138. Pat

    Why is everyone so anxious to disbelieve this family? Having a different approach to parenting, education and daily living does not make bad parents. These boys are loved, challenged and allowed to be themselves it appears. I think they will grow into very productive adults.
    Lets wait until all the facts are in before crucifying these folks.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  139. Mary Pat

    Every news station reported that a basket was attatched to the balloon that they believed the boy to occupy. If you look at the video of the balloon launching, there is no basket..... Hmmmm....
    Can either of the parents explain that?

    October 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  140. Lenna

    As I watched Wolf Blitzer on Larry King Live, it wasn't so much what Falcon said but rather the body language and reaction of the mother and father. I had been watching Larry King from the beginning through to the end and it was uncomfortable to watch the father squirm during this now questionable interaction between father and son when Falcon was asked why he did not respond to his parents voices. The visibly clear way, that all of a sudden, the father seemed to have lost his train of thought and could not find words is very telling. Their are two types of people that never lie-small children and a drunk. It is indeed a hoax.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  141. Vern J and Jenn

    what a load of BALONEY. Clearly the parents let the balloon go with smiles and excitement. This father seems volatile, but the boy seems coached too. The entire FAMILY enjoys attention and this particular little boy is quite precocious-totally believable to this Larimer County Resident that we are owed reimbursement.
    A THANK YOU FOR YOUR EFFORTS GOES OUT TO ALL AGENCIES!!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  142. Ralph Unger

    He bought the balloon, not built it himself, give me a break!
    Is anyone on CNN following this story?

    October 16, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  143. Robert Lake,MI

    The kids parent(s) should be charged with something, not a very funny prank!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  144. Jon Locke

    I am a bit upset and angry at the amount of coverage you, CNN, has devoted to this story. While the story of a boy lost on a balloon makes for fascinating news, the fact that the boy was found in his own house pretty much ends the interesting story.

    My point is, boy was lost on balloon, now boy is found in house. There is much more pressing news issues at the moment such as healthcare, the Afghanistan War, etc. Please, do not fall into the sensationalization of this story.

    Thank you.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  145. Lori

    I am wondering something. If the Heene family had a scheduled "launch" to test the craft, went to the trouble of having one son video tape it, and one other son was there helping.....WHY DID THEY NOT NOTICE THAT FALCON WAS NOT THERE? Did they not know where he was? After all, isn't this type of thing that they do as a FAMILY all the time? Someone needs to ask them.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  146. Ann R.

    I've yet to hear why these kids were not in school instead of getting into mischief at home.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  147. Roger

    During the 911 call, the father stated, the craft would produce 1 million
    volts of of electricity. How big of a generator do you need to produce that voltage every five minutes, no one seems to be questioning this.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  148. DJ in Denver

    I love Colorado. It is never boring here. I really enjoyed these people on wife swap. The mother got sent to an over protective family and loosened them up some. I am glad the child was not in the balloon and that really was the news, everything else is just junk.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  149. Sylvana Anderson-Gish

    If you listen to that sound bite of the boy on the morning news
    where everyone thinks he is making some sort of 'admission',
    he is actually saying "YOU GUYS said we did it for a tv show"
    He is telling the media that THEY said that,
    he is not "admitting" anything.

    But that Dad really needs counceling and a rap on the head.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  150. DJ in Denver

    voltage and amperage are two different things I think you could run twelve volts through three car coils and come close to a million volts. One coil jumps twelve volts to somewhere around twelve thousand volts, that's why spark plugs work. Don't lick the red wire dude. 🙂

    October 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  151. G.H.

    I find it very sad that American society immediately jumps to the conclusion that these parents would use their child in this manner to get on tv. Even more sad is that the media immediately leached on to this "hoax" theory as soon as they realized that the boy didn't die tragically and their headline story was D.O.A. I have heard the 911 call and it appears to me that their concern was genuine, and it appears I'm not the only one. The sheriff also believes their story and doesn't think this was a hoax. This family is not mainstream, so in the eyes of the majority they must be guilty. Very very sad.
    The interview with Wolf Blitzer is being used by the media as some sort of proof that this was a scam. Did it ever occur to anyone that this is a 6 year old boy who was probably scared to death to be on tv and got confused. I mean if anyone saw hm this morning throwing up on tv, it is clear that he is stress.
    Perhaps what is even more sad is that instead of a nation being glad that a little boy didn't plunge to his death, we have a blood thirsty media and jaded society that wants their blood one way or another.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  152. J.V.

    Come on Rick Sanchez !!!! I love ya bro !!! Your the man for this job. I love that you don't pull punches ! This balloon story is all Lies !
    now the Colorado police wanting to give the family another day, for what to get there lies straight.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  153. roy

    its a big joke

    October 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  154. Rose from COLORADO

    You are missing the entire anger here in colorado. There is an entire video of the family releaseing this balloon. on tv. We are very angery over child endangerment. Who builds this, looses their kids, and causes all this??????? Was it legal to build????? Then the dad on tv says they do not ground or discipline their kids so they will have a talk with him. What????????? This is our tax dollars at work here in the middle of a bad economy. Are you kidding me?????

    October 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  155. Rocket

    The Colorado police wanting to give the family another day, so that they can get their lies straigh?
    Let's put it this way "Kid can't tell lie"

    October 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  156. dartcanyon

    I think the dad is out to make some money. They have been on Wife Swap and he is a commentator on some show. He obviously likes attention and the money he makes from the appearances. He also seems to have an anger management problem from one shot I saw on TV. Is anyone going to check into that??

    October 16, 2009 at 8:38 pm |
  157. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    Rose from Colorado get over your anger in Colorado. This is just a typical American family. This construction is all over magazines. The father like or not will make the decision. The truth is that the least he should do is to talk to him. Do you want to take those right away? The children cannot be on chains. Sadly boys will be boys. Do you want to put the child and the family in jail? Are you kidding me?

    October 17, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  158. Rose from COLORADO

    This is not a typical family. This is child endangerment, neglect, bad parenting. ect...... While 7.2 million people are out of work this hoax costs $28,000 of tax payer money. Child welfare is looking into it so I must be correct. I have boys and they can be taught manners, right from wrong, respect, how to mind, how to use your head and think...ect.... They launched this themselves and it is on film. The little boy is on the news saying "we did it for the show". He is also on tv heaving as he is so sick and upset over what these parents put him thru. Am I the only one who knows where these kids will end up with no rules, regulations, discipline ect.... JAIL.....

    October 17, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  159. JINKS

    I was watching the lift off and landing of the balloon. And im asking were could the boy have got in at. There dont look to be any doors visable. And it looks the same from take off to landing.
    At first the news reported that there was a basket that could have falling. But i did not see that at left off from the home vedeo. The balloon looks to be one peice and i dont see how the boy could get in side.
    And who has the ballon now, to show were the boy could have caught a ride. It would be nice if you could report this. By obtaining one of these ballons and showing your veiwers were the boy could have caught a ride. To me the bottom didnt look to be ferm. And if some one sets on somthing that is not ferm if would sag. So if the craft dont have a solid bottom then the perents had to now the boy was not inside. THANK YOU

    October 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  160. SUSAN

    After seeing the recently released video of the "experimental" balloon lifting off from the inventors backyard it became clear to me that this was a planned sequence of events for two reasons:

    1. The home video of the launch does not appear to reflect any basket attached to this balloon. It looked the same as when it landed; which suggests to me there was never any possibility of a passenger being onboard this weather balloon.

    2. It seems obvious that this inventor needed a means of tracking and monitoring his "experimental balloon" once it was launched so he could understand the success or failure of his experiment. How best to do this (given the nature of this airborn experiment) than with direct assistance/monitoring from the FAA, helicopters, balloon experts and live TV monitoring its movement, altitude and travels live on TV for the inventor to watch.

    It's too bad their children have become anxious innocent victims of this costly hoax their extraterrestrial parents have crafted!

    October 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  161. K. Antoinette London

    I really hope that this was not a hoax. I know that (speaking for myself), when I heard the news about this happening, it really bothered me. It was unsettling. I understand that everyone needs money at this point in time, but to conjure up such an act for widespread attention is ridiculous. I hope that this was not the case, in this situation. What caught me off guard, was when little Falcon said "you told me that it was for the show". Come on people! You and I know that you should never say things in front of children, because they will REPEAT IT!!!!!

    October 17, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  162. Rose from COLORADO

    Surprise Surprise!!!!! Colorado Sherriff is pressing charges and arresting the father. It was a Hoax. Child welfare is involved. Wow huh. What a shock. daddy is going to jail. Waiting on a Search warrent right now.

    October 18, 2009 at 1:17 am |
  163. jeremia in alaska

    call me crazy but when orson wells presented the war of the worlds over the radio in 1938 there was mass hysteria and he was still allowed to make his announcement of a worldwide alien takeover a multi-part announcement this baloon story is just another media-speech and if they were looking to sell a product in the mainstream market they would have had the backing of any major company and this wouldn't be such an issue

    October 19, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  164. Rose from COLORADO

    The cost to colorado tax payers for this attention hoax is now estimated at $95,000. Our airports shut down. Some ones planted wheat field was destroyed when the balloon landed in it. Firemen, medical personnel, helicopters, search and rescue, ect.... Have much better things to do. yes this is an issue. Ignorant parents are dangerous to children.

    October 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  165. Lewis G Pauley

    I missed the baloon boy and boy is my face red, but, not so red as Wolfe B. There was a lot of money put out on this hoax and that man and woman needs to stand all costs.
    And someone should check to see these children are being properly supervised. Children should not be taken on a trip to chase hurricanes and tornados.

    Lewis G Pauley
    West Virginia

    November 3, 2009 at 10:05 am |