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US parents in bizarre ‘balloon boy’ hoax granted pardon

In this file photograph taken on December 23, 2009 Richard Heene and Mayumi Heene (L) stroll out of Courtroom 3A after their sentencing listening to on the Larimer County Justice Center in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Chris Schneider, Getty Images, AFP



  • The US parents who falsely claimed their son floated in a balloon have been pardoned.
  • They grew to become a worldwide sensation as folks watched the balloon floated 110km.
  • Colorado Governor Jared Polis mentioned the couple had the “paid the price” for his or her actions.

Two Colorado parents jailed for falsely claiming their 6-year-old son Falcon had floated away in a home made balloon formed like a flying saucer have been granted pardons by the western US state’s governor.

Richard and Mayumi Heene pleaded responsible in 2009 to the “balloon boy” hoax, which grew to become a worldwide media sensation with hundreds of thousands watching stay because the silver helium balloon drifted via the skies for 110km.

The October 2009 incident ended after 5 hours when the grounded balloon was discovered to be empty and Falcon emerged from a hiding place on the household house.

The husband and spouse, accused by prosecutors of plotting to make use of the publicity to land a actuality tv sequence, have been pardoned on Wednesday by Governor Jared Polis.

“It’s time to no longer let a permanent criminal record from the balloon boy saga follow and drag down the parents for the rest of their lives,” wrote Polis in an announcement, saying the pair had “paid the price in the eyes of the public”.

‘Coerced responsible plea’

Law enforcement’s suspicions have been inflated when Falcon let slip in a CNN tv interview that all the episode had been performed “for the show”.

The hoax was seemingly confirmed inside 48 hours of the interview, when Japanese-born Mayumi Heene reportedly broke down underneath police questioning.

But the couple’s lawyer informed AFP on Thursday they solely pleaded responsible to cease her from being deported, and had genuinely feared their son was aboard the balloon.

“They regret not checking this all out more thoroughly, but it was a coerced guilty plea,” mentioned David Lane. “And I think that also influenced the governor.”

He added: “I can now finally say the balloon-acy has ended.”

Richard Heene, handed a 90-day sentence for attempting to affect a public servant, now owns a small enterprise and has contributed to his group “by researching and educating about extreme weather events”, wrote Polis.

Mayumi Heene, sentenced to twenty days in jail for false reporting to authorities, has grow to be a naturalized American citizen. The couple now stay in Florida.

Falcon, now a youngster, went on to kind a heavy steel band along with his brothers, Ryo and Bradford, releasing a tune titled Balloon Boy, No Hoax and an accompanying low-budget video that includes a mocked-up flying saucer.

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