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Oct 16, 2009 12:41 PM by By RUSSELL GOLDMAN & SARAH NETTER

Balloon Boy's Dad: Suggestion of Publicity Stunt Is 'Pathetic'

The parents of the 6-year-old Colorado boy who at one time was believed to be soaring across Colorado in a "homemade flying saucer" rejected suggestions today that the entire incident was a publicity stunt.

"To have people say that, I think, is extremely pathetic," Richard Heene told "Good Morning America" today, his arm wrapped around son Falcon. "We were holding on to every second, every second, just hoping he might come out OK."

Falcon was found hiding in a cardboard box in the attic above the garage more than two hours after the balloonlike aircraft launched from the family's Fort Collins, Colo. backyard and soared across Colorado.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said investigators had initially believed that the family was telling the truth, basing his belief on their interviews and body language.
"They were completely convinced this was the real deal and not a hoax," he said.

But skepticism about the incident was fueled, in large part, by the family's appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live" Thursday night in which Falcon said "we did this for a show."

Toward the end of a lengthy interview, guest host Wolf Blitzer asked Richard Heene to ask his son, who could not hear Blitzer, what he meant by the comment. Heene briefly suggested Falcon might have been talking about the family's two appearances on the ABC reality show "Wife Swap."

"Certainly, that statement that was made last night on the interview raises the questions again," Alderden said. "We do intend to go back and try and reinterview the family."

Making the rounds on the morning news programs, Heene explained what he believed Falcon meant when he said, "We did this for a show." The dad told NBC's "Today" show that Falcon had showed journalists his hiding place in the garage rafters. "Somebody had asked [Falcon] if he would show them how he got in the attic, so he was obliging them, and one of the guys told him it was for some TV show. So, that's what he was referring to. That's what he was referring to when he made that statement," Heene said.

On "Good Morning America" today, Heene again defended himself and his family, and said they were truly worried they had lost their little boy.

"I'm not selling anything. This is what we do all the time," he said. "I don't have a can of beans I'm trying to promote. This is just another day in the life of what we do."

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