Court documents say the mother of a six-year-old U.S. state of Colorado
boy who was once feared missing inside a runaway balloon has admitted
the whole incident was a hoax.
According to a newly-released affidavit made public Friday, Mayumi Heene told investigators she and her husband, Richard Heene, fabricated the story about their son, Falcon, to make the family more marketable for future media interest.
In frantic calls to a television station, 911 emergency center and federal aviation officials, the Heenes reported that they feared Falcon was inside the homemade, saucer-like balloon when it was accidentally launched from their backyard on October 15.
Television images showed the silver helium balloon soaring through the Colorado skies and later landing in a field, where ground crews looked inside but found no sign of the boy. Falcon turned up at his home inside a garage attic, where he had been hiding the entire time.
Suspicion about the family's story intensified when Falcon made a comment on CNN that sounded like, "You had said we did this for a show."
The affidavit released Friday says Mayumi Heene told investigators that she and Richard Heene devised the hoax about two weeks earlier and that the experimental flying saucer was specifically made to carry out the hoax.
The document also says the parents had instructed their three children to lie to authorities and to the media about the hoax.
Police recently said the alert about the boy being carried off by the balloon was a publicity stunt. The parents are likely to face several criminal charges, including conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, attempting to influence a public servant and making a false report. Authorities say federal charges may also be brought.
The parents currently are not under arrest.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.