Balloon Hoax Charges Not Likely Till Next Week

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Charges in the fake drama surrounding a six-year-old boy and a two-hour balloon chase may not come until at least next week, authorities said Monday.

Colorado officials revealed that last week's balloon scare involving storm chaser Richard Heene, his wife Mayumi and their three boys was a hoax, and that others may be involved.

Larimer County sheriff's spokeswoman Eloise Campanella said, however, charges will likely take several days as investigators finish their reports and present them to the district attorney's office next week.

Chargers were originally expected to be made by Wednesday.

"We certainly know that there's a conspiracy between the husband and wife, you've probably seen some of the emails and some of the things on the Internet suggesting that there may be other conspirators," Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said.
   
Authorities are investigating a media outlet that published an article called, Exclusive: I Helped Richard Heene Plan a Balloon Hoax by writer Robert Thomas of Denver.

Emails have surfaced between Thomas and Richard Heene apparently organizing a publicity stunt to promote a reality show.

After the Heene family told law enforcement that their six-year-old son was trapped in a runaway balloon -- a nationally televised rescue effort began on Friday. Eventually, the boy was found hiding in the family's attic.

Authorities believe the parents planned the media stunt to promote a proposed reality show and charges could be filed by Wednesday.

Alderden said he is seeking felony charges against Richard and Mayumi Heene.

Attorney David Lane said the Heenes are willing to turn themselves in to authorities.

"If they (prosecutors) can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, that's one thing," he told The Associated Press. "If they can't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, that's another."

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