At a press conference in Colorado, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden has come to a conclusion on the case of Richard Heene's Balloon Boy: "It has been determined this was a hoax, a publicity stunt to market a reality show."
Felony charges will be brought up against the Heene family, it seems. Warrants will be brought up against them. They don't know when the Heene's are going to be arrested. They're going to be going through Heene's computer and seeking out co-conspirators. "On the bizarre meter, this rates a 10," noted Alderden. They didn't search for drugs. They didn't do a thorough search of the house, and should've looked at the attic. They didn't.
They don't think they're overreacting. "Contributing to the delinquency of a minor, attempting to influence a public official" are among the charges, which add up to a Class 4 Felony. The only federal agency that's been brought into this is the FAA. It's "seriously doubted" that the children will be facing any serious charges. The ACLU might represent the Heene family in the case. Child protection has been notified. They've pulled a case number and will be conducting an investigation.
The sheriff's office believes this had been planned for two weeks. The idea was as we'd suspected-to launch this thing, create controversy by making people think the kid was "onboard," all with the intent of getting The Grand American Prize: a reality television show. Heene has no education after high school, and he's not a scientist. They are still being presented with the story that he was in the attic. On a first time felony offense, Richard Heene is seemingly unlikely to go to jail.
As for our tipster, Robert Thomas, they are aware of him, their efforts to locate him have been have been unsuccessful, and they have also been unsuccessful in their attempts to contact him.