By Mark Memmott
Things are -- if you can believe this -- getting even odder at the Fort Collins, Colo., home of the Heene family.
Richard Heene, father of "balloon boy" Falcon, emerged from their house this morning for what he said would be a "big announcement."
What he did was put a cardboard box out for reporters to put questions in. He promised to answer some of them this evening.
The one response he did give was to a shouted question about whether Thursday's infamous balloon flight (during which the world thought six-year-old Falcon Heene might be aboard) was some kind of publicity stunt.
"Absolutely no hoax," Richard Heene said, according to the Denver Post, before he went back into his home.
As KUSA-TV in Denver puts it: "Balloon Family's 'Big Announcement' Falls Flat".
The scene around the Heene home can only be summed up with the classic cliche "media circus." The Coloradoan says that:
The media and television trucks continue to fill the Heenes' southeast Fort Collins neighborhood. The reporters include members of the media from Brazil and Australia.
Onlookers also held up signs. One said: "Put Balloon Boy on TV: America's Most Wanted." The other, featuring a poorly-drawn flying saucer read: "10/15/09 We will never forget."
The Post adds that:
"C'mon, Richard, get this over with," said a 32-year-old neighbor who did not want to be identified. "Let the neighborhood get back to normal. We're sick of it."
Update at 7:30 a.m. ET, Oct. 18: Late last evening there was this new development -- Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said he's going to be filing charges against someone. He didn't say who will be accused, but added that:
"We were looking at Class 3 misdemeanor, which hardly seems serious enough given the circumstances. ... We are talking to the district attorney, federal officials to see if perhaps there aren't additional federal charges that are appropriate in this circumstance."
KUSA-TV reports that:
Late Saturday night investigators executed a search warrant at the Heene home.
The sheriff's office anticipates charges will be filed against one or both of the parents. The Heenes are not under arrest.
The Coloradoan also says "criminal charges likely for Heenes," though no one is expected to be arrested.
As the Associated Press notes:
Alderden previously said that if the balloon ordeal was a hoax, the parents could be charged with making a false report to authorities, a low-level misdemeanor.
The Denver Post says the sheriff plans a 1 p.m. ET news conference.
All those news outlets, as well as the cable news networks, will surely be at the news conference.
categories: National News