The Larimer County Sheriff's Department will investigate the family suspected of falsely claiming that a 6-year-old boy was trapped inside a runaway helium balloon yesterday. Sources tell TMZ that officials have not decided if it's a criminal investigation, but detectives will interview each family member starting tomorrow. (The family's presumably all booked up with interviews today.) The investigation will try to determine whether the parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, filed a false report, perhaps motivated by an insatiable lust for fame—TLC confirms the family did pitch a reality TV show earlier this year.
TMZ, which is really in its element with this one, has also obtained a recording of the 911 call made by the parents yesterday, just 15 minutes after the balloon floated away. Mayumi is the first parent on the phone, and she does sound authentically distraught as she tries to explain what the hell happened. At one point the 911 operator asks, "Does he know how to work the flying saucer?" We hope this story never dies, because then we'll have to pay attention to the painful state budget.
If this whole thing was a hoax, as 6-year-old Falcon seemed to admit on TV last night, it wouldn't be the Heene's first such stunt. Richard Heene previously sold a series of videos called "Fake or Real" on the internet, and last year posted a YouTube video under the online identity "The Psyience Detectives." The video depicted what appeared to be a terrorist attack in DC, showing smoke coming out of a car near the U.S. Capitol, accompanied by the sound of missles. A man in the video is heard saying, "What the f***? Jesus Christ. What's going on?", which has pretty much been our pussified reaction every time we learn something new about the Heenes.