A 6-year-old boy was found hiding at home Thursday, hours after the runaway flight of his family's experimental balloon riveted the nation and led to a frantic search by authorities who feared the child was aboard the craft. More than two hours after the balloon gently touched down in a field with no sign of the boy, Sheriff Jim Alderden turned to reporters during a news conference, gave a thumbs up and said 6-year-old Falcon Heene was "at the house. One of boy's older brothers had initially told authorities he saw his brother climb into a box compartment attached to the bottom of the balloon before it became untethered and took off. The family, which appeared twice on a reality television show about households that swap wives, spoke to reporters outside their home after being reunited with Falcon. Scolded, then missing The boy's father, Richard Heene, said the family was tinkering with the balloon Thursday morning and that he scolded Falcon for getting inside a compartment on the craft. He said Falcon's brother had seen him inside the compartment before it took off and that's why they thought he was in there when it launched.
It's been 10 years since police called the search for the infamous balloon boy a hoax, but even now, the boy -- now a teenager -- and his parents are standing by their story. Richard Heene maintains to this day that he, his wife, Mayumi, and their three sons were working on a saucer in the backyard of their Colorado home, with video cameras rolling, when the homemade device got loose and they feared their 6-year-old son Falcon was inside it. Millions watched in horror on live TV as the saucer drifted across the sky for nearly two hours and across almost 70 miles. Police, however, had doubts and thought it was a publicity stunt. When the saucer finally came down, it turned out the boy was not on board. Instead, he had apparently been hiding in the attic at home. The father told ABC News he believes he was a victim of character assassination and was still fired up at any suggestion the scare was a hoax.
10 years later, 'balloon boy' and his family still denounce idea that it was a hoax
In a US couple told the world their son had been carried away by a balloon. Rescue services scrambled to save him, but it was revealed to be a hoax and the pair were convicted. The story began when Richard and Mayumi Heene told police that their six-year-old son had floated away in a helium balloon. US networks devoted hours of coverage to the drama showing footage of emergency services and two National Guard helicopters deployed to save the child as an enormous balloon floated away. When the balloon landed in a field, there was no sign of him and authorities feared for his safety.
That, perhaps, was the least bizarre part of my visit. Today, the Heenes live in a camper trailer parked on the side of a twisting country road. A year-old farmhouse slumps just a few yards away, a spray of mold running up the white siding.