Balloon dad hits the 14:59 mark

Richard_Heene_20091017Yes, we should all be skeptical about checkbook journalism, and Gawker is right up front about having paid Robert Thomas, a former friend and would-be business associate of balloon dad Richard Heene (photo).

But if Thomas can be trusted, the picture he paints of Heene is devastating. Thomas portrays Heene as an increasingly paranoid, frantic man who believes shape-shifting reptiles are running the government and who would do anything to get on television.

The two had even talked about perpetrating a hoax with the balloon, Thomas claims, though getting one of the kids involved was supposedly not part of the original plan.

This story in the Denver Post only adds to the sense that it’s all about to fall apart.

Photo of Heene is from his MySpace profile.

17 thoughts on “Balloon dad hits the 14:59 mark

  1. gyrfalcon

    Er, granted the guy is certainly unhinged, but it seems a wee bit strange to arrange a publicity stunt and then hide from the media while it was going on, wouldn’t you think?

  2. Neil

    It was one thing when everyone wanted to know who killed Natalie Holloway and our nations cable news infrastructure focused on it obsessively for months mulling over every little development at the expense of covering other important national news. After all, a girl was murdered and a great mystery and drive for justice ensued.

    This story was deflated as soon as the balloon landed, the boy was not in danger, and he appeared from his hiding place “in a box over the garage” and yet the family solicited opportunities to go on evening and morning television (they called Morning Joe three times to request a segment. MJoe declined.)

    So whether Richard Henne is is lying to the world about not creating a hoax, we know for a fact he was soliciting as much media attention as possible for the incident.

    Falcon Henne, the reluctant astronaut, puked twice on morning television; once on Good Morning America and another network morning show. Did he have the flu or was he sick to his stomach over the position he was put in?

    On CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked why he did not answer calls for him while he was hiding.

    Blitzer to Falcon’s dad asking about Falcon: “Did he hear you screaming Falcon, Falcon?”
    Richard to Falcon: “He’s asking, Did you hear us call your name at any time?”
    Falcon: “mmh-huh”
    Richard: “You Did? Why didn’t you come out?”
    Falcon: “You guys said, that hmm… we did this for a show.” VIDEO

    Richard Henne’s manipulation of the press, Colorado search and rescue safety agencies, the FAA and NORAD, not to mention CNN, ABC, CBS, FoxNews, MSNBC et other deserves exactly one response. Bill him for all costs and end coverage of his shenanigans.

    It’s too bad he didn’t know his own son (on whose dishonesty he relied to maintain the hoax) was more honest than he knew.

  3. Aunt Nancy

    They need to get those kids and the wife away from this nutcase immediately. I see shades of John List here.

  4. O-FISH-L

    I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of this family. Not by a long shot. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if young Falcon somehow winds up floating around in a balloon for real, or some similar stunt at some point in the near future. As a friend of mine sagely remarked, “You could tell that the father was ‘a piece of work’ right from the beginning.” Late word is that the Sheriff is now going to bring criminal charges. Good.

    The media deserves some criticism too for being so easily hoodwinked. Not just for the initial story, but for repeating the claims that witnesses had seen the boy fall from the “flying saucer.” C’mon!

  5. lkcape

    I get a really chuckle out of it when all of your assessments are so far out in front of the facts!

    If it’s a hoax, it’s a hoax. No amount of pre-bleating about it will make the confirmation come any sooner!

    But if it ain’t, well, now, you may have some egg on your face.

  6. Neil

    it seems a wee bit strange to arrange a publicity stunt and then hide from the media while it was going on, wouldn’t you think?

    Not if your story is falling apart and it just occurred to you that there could be ramification for knowingly filling a fraudulent 911 call.

  7. Neil

    If it’s a hoax, it’s a hoax. No amount of pre-bleating about it will make the confirmation come any sooner!

    But if it ain’t, well, now, you may have some egg on your face.

    Likewise, if it’s not a hoax, it’s not a hoax. No amount of “pre-bleating” about it will make the confirmation come any sooner!

    But if it is, well, now, lkcape not only looks stupid for inventing words like “pre-bleating” but for failing to read up on the story he’s commenting on and pre-criticizing Dan for getting right/wrong. For that Lkcape may have to wear the egg of ignorance on his pre-judicial face.

  8. BillH

    Let’s turn the case over to Colorado child protective services and be done with it. This has all the earmarks of the next Jon & Kate craziness. Let them all fade away.

  9. Newshound

    Yes, indeed, it is a story – – –

    FORT COLLINS, Colo.—A Colorado sheriff says it was hoax when parents reported that their 6-year-old son was in a flying saucer-like helium balloon hurtling away from their home.

    The sheriff expects to recommend charges of conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to authorities and attempting to influence a public servant.

    The most serious charges carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

    All three children knew of the Thursday hoax.

  10. Newshound

    Richard is indeed in deep dodo. Of course, he is innocent until proven guilty. We all should know though, it is a lot easier to stay out of trouble than get out of trouble. Even though we know the full burden of proof is on the government, he is in trouble until he gets out of it.
    This is sad for the three children from almost any dimension and perspective.
    Of course this is a news story. Nothing has happened quite like this before.
    We already know who, what, where and when. But why?

  11. Newshound

    Will seek restitution which included military helicopters, a ground rescue, a mounted posse, rerouting planes and briefly shutting down flights from Denver International Airport. All that on top of multiple $500,000 fines.

    This will surely dig deeply into family finances.

  12. lkcape

    Sorry, Neil, not wishing to judge before the facts are available does not mean that one is ignorant of the facts that are… In order to put spice, the conclusions jumpers project beyond what facts support.

    Since I have not yet drawn a conclusion, although one does seem to becoming established by the KNOWN facts, I will not have egg on my face either way.

    As Newshound’s post implies, ithe why that well tell us most about this story and all we need to know about motive…one way or the other.

  13. Joey

    >>Heene as an increasingly paranoid, frantic man who believes shape-shifting reptiles are running the government and who would do anything to get on television.

    So he’s a Republican. What’s wrong with that?

  14. Newshound

    Mr. Heene may not be that far off with his concept that reptile like minds are running the government and that being a Republican is worthy.

    What we know of what happened last week and the alleged abuse of life-saving resources is a violation.

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