The Colorado parents accused of concocting a publicity stunt by pretending that their young son had climbed aboard a homemade helium balloon and was hurtling through the skies above Fort Collins, Colo., will voluntarily surrender to authorities as soon as charges are filed, which is expected to happen on Wednesday, the lawyer for the father said Monday morning.
We were as freaked out as the rest of America by last Thursday afternoon's "Balloon Boy" strangeness, but the behavior of parents Richard and Mayumi Heene afterward was as strange as anything else in the situation. Admittedly, normal people don't build backyard UFO-shaped balloons, but it did seem unusual that the first thing the Heenes did, seemingly moments after learning that their six year old son Falcon had not fallen 10,000 feet to his death, was to book an interview on Larry King.
After initially believing the Heenes’ story, investigators grew suspicious after Falcon, in an interview on “Larry King Live,” said to his father, “You guys said that, um, we did this for the show.”
Mistake number one. Reporters and the media are not your friends. Assuming that the Heenes are innocent of filing false reports and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the ghost of Richard Jewell could have told them all about what can go wrong when ordinary people in strange situations talk to reporters.
The Heenes, who had appeared on the show “Wife Swap,” have made no secret of their television aspirations, and Falcon’s remark prompted authorities to reinterview the parents. At a news conference Sunday, the Larimer County sheriff, Jim Alderden, said that the entire series of events had been an elaborate hoax drummed up by the Heenes to gain attention.
Mistake number two. Assuming, again, the Heenes' innocence, it was should have been pretty clear by Friday morning that the police weren't calling because they wanted to find Falcon. He'd been on Larry King the night before. Yet, like lambs on a television reality show about the meat industry to the slaughter, the Heenes did not answer with the only response that makes sense:
"Gosh, I'd love to talk to you, but my lawyer won't let me. Why don't you call him. His telephone number is 555-1212. Thanks and goodbye!"
One assumes that, as good parents, the Heenes have taught their children never to talk to strangers. The media and the police definitely fall into that category.