fort collins, colo. -- The story that a little boy had floated away in a giant balloon was a hoax concocted to land a reality television show, authorities said Sunday, and the boy's parents probably will face felony charges.
The stunt two weeks in the planning was a marketing ploy by Richard and Mayumi Heene, who met in acting school in Hollywood and have appeared on the ABC reality show "Wife Swap," Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said. The Heenes have reportedly been working on a reality TV deal in Los Angeles.
Falcon Heene, 6, may not have even been hiding in the rafters of his family's garage during the intense five-hour search for him Thursday, Alderden said.
The stunt temporarily shut down Denver International Airport and caused the National Guard to scramble two helicopters in an attempt to rescue the boy, who was believed to be inside the homemade balloon that floated more than 50 miles across two counties.
Charging them with filing a false report is not enough. Make them pay 300% of the cost for responding to the hoax.