Balloon Boy Hoax Perpetrator Richard Heene
FORT COLLINS, Colorado: It’s a great day in the prevarication business when we get to nab a famous liar right out of the daily headlines. It appears that we get to welcome Balloon Boy Hoax Perpetrator Richard Heene to the NIP Famous Liars Hall of Shame. We’ll have ample time to bloviate at a later date, but so far here are facts:
Thursday October 15 people all over the world stopped to watch live TV as a runaway balloon in the shape of a flying saucer flies over Colorado at speeds estimated up to 25 mph. Reportedly a 6 year old boy was trapped inside with questionable hope of rescue. The drama was riveting, so much so that TV media cut away from a speech by the president to cover it. (Sorry Barack.)
In an hour or so the balloon begins to deflate and lowers itself gently to the ground as millions around the world breathe a collective sigh of relief. The compartment stowing the balloon boy is opened, and to the horror of the viewing audience the mini-gondola is empty. Where is the boy? Did he fall to his death? Did he somehow escape unnoticed?
We soon learn the name of the missing boy, Falcon Heene. In a couple of hours the news breaks that the Falcon has been found hiding in an attic, much to the relief of the viewing audience and his parents Richard and Mayumi Heene. By this time though we have discovered that the family were media hounds who had appeared on a reality series “Wife Swap.” We begin to wonder if we could have been duped. Statements made by Richard Heene about voltage and electrical discharge caused this writer to question his honesty.
The next morning the family appears during an interview on CNN. Statements made by the truthful young boy don’t jive with the father’s statements. As the family is shepherded from interview to interview, the stress on young Falcon makes him throw up on camera. Suspicion grows as we ask ourselves if we would prance all over the media if such a life-threatening event had happened to our family.
Sunday Fort Collins Sheriff Jim Alderden makes a statement that he expects charges to be filed of conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, false reporting to authorities, and other charges yet unspecified. Alderden stated that Heene’s story appeared plausible until the family was interviewed on CNN. When balloon boy Falcon was asked why he didn’t come out when called he answered, “You guys said, that we did this for a show.” Apparently that was the clue the enabled crack detective Sheriff Alderden to crack the case. 😉
By Sunday we hear from the AP that the dad had a considerable history of bizarre stunts. Fox News reports that an ex-colleague says the incident was not an accident. Robert Thomas reveals to Gawker.com that he helped Richard Heene plan a balloon hoax. CNN reports the balloon was not capable of lifting off with the boy. Already Wikipedia has the details for you to pore over.
Folks in the media are reporting estimates at what this stunt has cost the state of Colorado in terms of emergency services, not to mention the cost of shutting down nearby Denver airport during the incident. We hope that they subtract from the costs incurred the profit the media has made reporting the event. We are sure media outlets all over the world will rush forward to reimburse Colorado and Federal Aviation authorities for their expenses.
We here at the NIP of course owe a debt of gratitude to Richard Heene, as there are few times we get add such a famous prevaricator to our Hall of Shame being caught right in the act. Bravo Richard!