Monday, October 19, 2009

"Balloon Family" ready for jail!

The fakers are ready to face the music...or so they say.

A couple accused of faking the disappearance of their son in a weather balloon are ready to turn themselves in to police, their lawyer says.

David Lane said he expected police in Colorado to bring charges against his client, Richard Heene, by Wednesday.

"These folks are absolutely willing to turn themselves in, so I don't want to see a 'perp walk' done for media consumption," Mr Lane told NBC TV.

Mr Heene and wife Mayumi are accused of planning the hoax as a publicity stunt.

The disappearance of their son, six-year-old Falcon Heene, last Thursday became a media drama, but he was later found at home.

His parents appeared on several TV networks with Falcon and his two brothers to talk about the incident and insist it had not been staged.

Mr Lane told the Associated Press news agency that the Heenes should be presumed innocent of wrongdoing unless convicted.

"If [the prosecutors] can prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, that's one thing. If they can't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, that's another," he said.

Official details of any charges the Heenes might face have not yet been made public.

However, Sheriff Jim Alderden said on Sunday that charges might include conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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

Sheriff Alderden said that at first the parents' acting abilities had made them appear credible to the police.

But it had become clear when the son referred to his hiding as part of "a show" during a television interview that they were not telling the truth.

Sheriff Alderden said the authorities were investigating whether anyone else may have been involved, including a media outlet that may have been in on the hoax.

"We certainly know that there's a conspiracy between the husband and wife, you've probably seen some of the e-mails and some of the things on the internet suggesting that there may be other conspirators," he told reporters.

Investigators have said they want to question Robert Thomas, an associate of Mr Heene's in Denver, who provided the website with e-mail exchanges from several months ago in which he and Mr Heene talk about a possible balloon stunt to promote a proposed reality TV show.

People will do anything for fame.

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