Father in balloon boy saga denies event was a hoax
January 6, 2010
DENVER (AP) – The man who pleaded guilty in the runaway balloon saga that riveted the nation for hours in October says the event was not a hoax.
Richard Heene (HEE’-nee), an aspiring reality television show actor and backyard scientist, said in an interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that he believed his 6-year-old son, Falcon, was in the balloon. He says he pleaded guilty to a felony count of falsely influencing authorities to protect his Japanese wife, Mayumi, who faced deportation if convicted of a more serious crime.
Richard Heene, who was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Dec. 23, will begin serving his jail sentence on Monday. Mayumi Heene pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of knowingly filing a false report with emergency services and was sentenced to 20 days in jail.