Flashback Friday: Balloon Boy
On this date, back in 2009, one of THE most bizarre stories of the year was wrapped up.
Remember "Balloon Boy"?
In October 2009, Richard Heene called the FAA and said that an experimental weather balloon had gotten loose from his Fort Collins, Colorado home and was airborne. With his six-year-old son, Falcon, on board. He called a local television news station asking for a helicopter to track the balloon. His wife, Mayumi, then called 911.
Balloon Boy blew up as the biggest story of the day. It was almost as riveting as OJ Simpson's slo-mo car chase in the white Bronco.
When the balloon landed, though, there was no boy in the balloon and the search turned to find Falcon as if he had fallen out somewhere along the balloon's drift path.
It all turned out to be a hoax! Falcon has hiding in the attic at home. When they all appeared on camera, the six-year-old let slip that his father had set everything up in an effort to get a reality television show. Richard Heene was seen as a somewhat eccentric, shameless self-promoter. He believed in aliens and that they had created human life. He and Mayumi had been featured a couple times on Wife Swap and he used that opportunity to pitch a science reality series to TLC. They passed.
On December 23rd, 2009, Richard Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail, and community service. He was later ordered to repay $36,000 for the search and rescue efforts. His wife was sentenced to 20 days. Heene later said he confessed and accepted the sentencing to avoid his wife's deportation.
Today, the Heene's live in Florida. Richard works construction. 13-year-old Falcon is in a heavy metal band with his two older brothers, 16-year-old Bradford and 15-year-old Ryo. As recently as August, they had written a song supporting President-elect Trump.
Now, why couldn't they have come up with something like this? This could have worked for them...