‘Balloon Boy’ parents pardoned by Colorado governor

Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 1:38 PM MST
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DENVER (KKTV) - The parents involved in the infamous 2009 “Balloon Boy” hoax have been given clemency by the Colorado governor.

Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday that Richard and Mayumi Heene were among the 18 he was pardoning.

“In the case of Richard and Mayumi Heene, the ‘Balloon Boy’ parents, we are all ready to move past the spectacle from a decade ago that wasted the precious time and resources of law enforcement officials and the general public. Richard and Mayumi have paid the price in the eyes of the public, served their sentences, and it’s time for all of us to move on,” Polis said in a statement.

On Oct. 15, 2009, the Heenes reported that their 6-year-old son Falcon had floated away in a UFO-shaped balloon, touching off a furious chase. The balloon’s flight and the chase were broadcast live, taking viewers on an emotional roller coaster as people around the world feared for the child’s safety. Falcon wasn’t found inside the balloon when it finally landed, raising fears that he had fallen out. He turned up later that day hiding in the family’s garage in Fort Collins.

Richard Heene later pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to influence a public servant and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Mayumi Heene served a 20-day jail sentence. The couple was also ordered to pay $36,000 in fines.

The family later moved away from Colorado.

“It’s time to no longer let a permanent criminal record from the ‘Balloon Boy’ saga follow and drag down the parents for the rest of their lives,” Polis said.

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