Keep New Times Free

Oprah Catches Up with "Balloon Boy" Flying Saucer Family; Richard Heene Insists "It Was Never a Hoax"

On Saturday, Oprah Winfrey aired a segment about catching up with the family of Richard and Mayumi Heene, who were both prosecuted in Colorado in 2009 after they reported that their then-six-year-old son Falcon had flown away in a homemade flying saucer. Turned out, Falcon was hiding in the attic, and the family was later accused of having orchestrated the drama for a reality show.

"It was never a hoax," Richard Heene tells Oprah's cameras. "I took a guilty plea to save my family."

He pled guilty to felony charges of attempting to influence a public servant and was ordered to pay $47,000 and serve 90 days in jail, and Mayumi pled guilty to a misdemeanor. But outside of the courtroom both Heene parents have insisted that Mayumi, who is Japanese, didn't understand the meaning of the word "hoax" during an interview with authorities and the couple pleaded guilty only to put the episode behind them.

See Also: -- Balloon Boy Dad debate: Is Richard Heene a Scumbag? -- Balloon Boy Dad's Greatest Hits (VIDEO)

Still, Richard Heene has had trouble finding work because of the negative attention. He has made several memorable inventions including a machine that shakes the last bit of ketchup out of a jar, and a back scratcher:

In 2012, New Times caught up with the family, which is living in Florida, outside of Tampa. The boys are all homeschooled and now have a metal band, The Heene Boyz.

On February 22, the band is playing a "Restore the Music Festival" in Gainesville. Some proceeds will be donated to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.

Personally, I'm a fan.

Send story tips to Deirdra.Funcheon@BrowardPalmBeach.com.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.