Sheriff pursuing charges in Colorado balloon saga

Sunday, October 18, 2009

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- A Colorado sheriff said he was pursuing criminal charges in the case of a 6-year-old boy who vanished into the rafters of his garage while the world thought he was zooming through the sky in a flying saucer-like helium balloon.

The boy's parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, met with Larimer County investigators for much of the afternoon, but Sheriff Jim Alderden didn't say who would be charged or what the charges would be.

Alderden didn't call Thursday's drama a hoax, but he expressed disappointment he couldn't level more serious charges in the incident, which sent police and the military scrambling to save young Falcon Heene.

"We were looking at Class 3 misdemeanor, which hardly seems serious enough given the circumstances," Alderden said.

"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."

---- He said deputies were seeking a search warrant for the family's home, and there would be more information at a news conference Sunday.

---- After the sheriff went inside, Richard Heene and his wife walked out. As reporters yelled questions, all Heene said was, "I was talking to the sheriff's department just now." He then walked to his car with his wife and a friend, and they drove away.

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