Three days after the nation watched the televised image of a silver flying saucer-shaped balloon traveling across the Colorado sky, it turns out the saga
of the balloon boy may have been all hot air.
"It has been determined this was a hoax
. It was a publicity stunt," Larimer County, Colo., Sheriff Jim Alderden told reporters Sunday. He said no arrests will be made until the investigation is complete.
Alderden said the hoax was hatched more than two weeks ago by either one or both of 6-year-old Falcon Heene's parents as a means of landing their own reality TV show. Authorities are investigating whether others are involved.
The Heene family, who spoke to investigators Saturday, may be charged with two felonies: conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Denver attorney David Lane, representing parents Richard and Mayumi Heene, says he wishes to avoid "the public spectacle and humiliation" of police arresting them in the presence of their children and that the couple will turn themselves into authorities when the time comes.
On Monday's Today show
, Lane insisted that so far only one side of the story has been heard.
In the meantime, Sheriff Alderden said protective services would look into whether the children should be removed from the home.
The sheriff issued a search warrant on the Heene home Saturday night and removed computers, video equipment and financial records.
The Heenes were locked out of their house during the search and spent the night with a neighbor. They returned at 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning and left an hour later.