The couple convicted in the 'balloon boy' hoax - who claimed their 6-year-old disappeared in a runaway UFO-shaped silver balloon - has been pardoned
The couple convicted in the balloon boy hoax which falsely claimed that their 6-year-old son swam away in a silver UFO-shaped balloon have been pardoned by the Colorado governor.
On October 15, 2009, people around the world followed the journey of the homemade helium device. It hovered over 50 miles, AP News reported. The child was later found hiding in the family attic.
The mother, Mayumi Heene, later confessed that they had planned the whole thing two weeks in advance and told her sons to lie about it.
Authorities said they should become more marketable for a reality TV show after appearing on ABC's "Wife Swap".
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The couple convicted in the "balloon boy" hoax claiming that their 6-year-old son swam away in a UFO-shaped silver balloon resulting in an ambulance pursuit have been pardoned by the Colorado governor.
On October 15, 2009, people in the United States stopped what they were doing to watch police and National Guard helicopters called in to follow the homemade helium device that hovered over 50 miles for two hours, according to AP News. Parents - Richard and Mayumi Heene - said they believed their son Falcon was in the balloon when he escaped.
According to the Washington Post, the child was found safely hidden in the family's attic in Fort Collins, 60 miles from Denver. The Gawker website then reported that the entire story was hoaxing in hopes of turning the family into reality TV stars. The couple had previously appeared on ABC's "Wife Swap".
Richard Heene and Mayumi Heene leave Courtroom 3A after their hearing at the Larimer County Justice Center on December 23, 2009 in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The amount of money spent during the search was never confirmed. However, NBC News reported that the cost of the two military helicopters used at the time was around $ 14,500.
According to The Hill, Falcon's parents had to pay $ 36,000 in restitution and spent a month in jail after being convicted of influencing an officer and 20 days in jail for filing a false report.
The couple initially maintained their innocence, saying that they honestly believed their son was in the balloon. They added that they plead guilty only to avoid the possible deportation of his mother to Japan as she has not yet become a U.S. citizen, the Washington Post said.
Mayumi Heene later confessed that the parents had planned the whole thing two weeks in advance and told her three young sons to lie about it, according to police affidavits.
The family later appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" and in response to Wolf Blitzer's question why Falcon didn't come out when his parents called his name, he said it was "for the show."
Governor Jared Polis said in a statement: "In the case of Richard and Mayumi Heene, the parents of the 'balloon boy', we are all ready to step past the spectacle of a decade ago that wasted the precious time and resources of law enforcement officials and officials the general public. "
"Richard and Mayumi paid the price in the public eye, served their sentences, and it is time for all of us to move on. It is time to stop putting a permanent criminal record from the balloon boy saga and parents for the Rest of her life. "
Polis also issued an additional 16 pardons and four commutations.
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