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October 15th, 2009
07:53 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Balloon Mystery Solved

The balloon landed near Keenesburg, Colorado, about 50 miles from the Heene's Fort Collins home.

The balloon landed near Keenesburg, Colorado, about 50 miles from the Heene's Fort Collins home.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight we'll have the latest on the balloon mystery flight that had millions glued to their TV sets. Above Colorado, news helicopters were tracking a homemade helium balloon that looked like homemade space ship or a massive flying Jiffy Pop. A six-year-old boy was believed to be on board as the balloon traveled 50 miles going as high as 7,000 feet. But when the balloon eventually landed, the child wasn't there. Then there was concern the boy might have fallen out. Though, three hours after the ordeal began, came word Falcon Heene was never on board and had hid in his family's attic.

Tonight you'll hear from Falcon and his father, Richard Heene, who says the balloon was a family invention.

We also have an exclusive report on allegations Texas executed an innocent man. Cameron Todd Willingham was put to death five years ago. But more than half a dozen forensic experts believe the fire that killed his three girls was not arson. Tonight a juror is speaking out and admitting she has trouble sleeping at night due to the case. You'll also hear from Willingham's defense attorney. We've been covering this story for months, demanding answers and Keeping them Honest.

There's also an incredible report from Dr. Sanjay Gupta. See how a woman cheated death when she was frozen alive. It's tied to his new book, "Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles that are Saving Lives Against All Odds."

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Kara from VA

    Balloon boy's family should stop chasing storms, redirect their energy, and become search and rescue volunteers. It is the least they could do after what the people of Colorado and this country did for them yesterday.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  2. Karen

    Shame on Mom and Dad. Good for Falcon. The rest of the truth will come out eventually. As long as they talk to the 6 year old who has morals.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  3. Jorge, CA

    If I learned that my child may have fallen out of a ballon, even for a couple of hours, I would be a total wreck.

    If my little girl was thrown into world news like little Falcon was today, she'd would think that CNN is her new show.

    If this is a hoax, it has shown that our rescue teams did not have the procedures to attempt a balloon rescue. As a training exercise, this was a wake up call.

    Whatever the truth may be, we should be glad that rescue procedures will be developed for balloon rescues.

    October 16, 2009 at 6:41 am |
  4. Arnold

    Kids play hide and seek all the time. If anyone knew where he was his brothers certainly did. All a publicity stunt!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:29 am |
  5. lourdes alonso

    I am just glad the kid is fine. Now just leave then along.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:27 am |
  6. beverly rogers, hawaii

    maybe... they're trying for a reality show. Jon & kate flumped. Mad scientist, wild kids, bewildered mom..? step up to the plate!

    October 16, 2009 at 3:13 am |
  7. Jan Hunter

    My sister at the age of about 3 dissapeared, we called police, looking every where , she had followed a cat that had kittens into a back laundary area an the cat gave birth to kittens and she had fallen asleep. The second time she was about 4 and had hidden behind two doors in the house, when both were open they formed a small v shape behind them , just big enough for a small child, she had colored and written all over the walls behind the door, and got tired I guess and fell asleep. And the stories go on an on. However, she is still with us thank God, after at age 32, stage 4 cancer that had also went into her brain, with a .0001 chance to be alive. The female version of the Lance Armstrong type. Well, I will not write a book but you would not understand what our family has endured. Love your show Anderson, and Sanja Gupta also. God Speed.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:40 am |
  8. Carol - Oregon

    I watched this episode all day and then this evening when the family was together talking to Falcon about the happening. This whole thing is absurd all the way around. This father is a fanatic and wants attention, thus he is not teaching his children anything. Watching the Wife Swap episode spells it all....they only want attention. The cost of this stunt is horrible but these fanatics do not care...as long as they get the attention, what do they care!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:32 am |
  9. William

    Ok, i am glad the kid is alright and everything, but do we really need to spend this much time on a story like this? Isn't there anything more important we could be talking about or that you guys could cover? I understand staying with it when we thought the kid was inside the thing, but he wasn't and is perfectly safe, so lets move on.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:29 am |
  10. Elaine

    Maybe it's possible Falcon said it's for the show because of all the camera's in his face today etc. His past experiences with cameras have been associated with a lot of shows

    October 16, 2009 at 2:29 am |
  11. David Nischik

    Scam Scam Scam. Send them the bill!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:24 am |
  12. Lolcat

    i think the most obvious evidence is how her voice pitches and her hand starts to grab her knee nervously, as if the boy failed to remember the script. he is six years old, but i can assure you this 6 year old has a greater ability to tell the truth than the parents do.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:24 am |
  13. Darrell

    Just glad he was found. The rescue attempt can be considered a training exercise to justify the costs. Gov't agencies spend much more than that on routine exercises. For example, the Air National Guard unit here in St. Louis spent approx $5.5 million on a routine training exercise in 2004. Talk about waste!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  14. Erik T

    There is no question in my opinion that this is a hoax. Falcon's admission that it was for the show, followed by both parents' reaction, convinced me that it was for publicity. In addition to the cost of all the rescue efforts, there was likely significant cost to the nation due to lost publicity: many people, like myself, stopped working during the afternoon to follow the story. The parents should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:21 am |
  15. beverly rogers, hawaii

    to those who think SCAM be real, ! the parents were in shock mode.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  16. nanette

    I gave two hours of my time this afternoon following this story live on CNN. I want my two hours back....we were taken for fools....I feel sorry for all 3 boys of that family! Shame on those parents!

    October 16, 2009 at 1:45 am |
  17. Paula Birch

    When the father was asked to ask his child the question he got instantly defensive. He even tried to word teh questions differently. In the video they showed earlier the kids were talking very clearly, in the interview they couldnt get a word in.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:33 am |
  18. Jewli Judd

    I agree with most of you...this had to be a stunt. And I really hope the parents have to pay back every cent for the search effort.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:31 am |
  19. Bonnie

    I just finished watching the interview with the family. This is a total hoax and done for publicity. The family should be ashamed of themselves teaching their children to do such things.

    The boy answered when questioned, that he did it for the show.
    The father looked very nervous and just shook his head. When questioned again he became very defensive.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:30 am |
  20. Cindy

    I am happy their little boy is safe, though I'm not sure he is with a dad this like. When little Falcon said, "You guys said we did it for the show," the mom is nodding her head and says, "You didn't?" That's as telling to me as the father's reaction. Body language experts will look at this tape and have all kinds of things to say about these parents' reactions and behavior in the interview.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  21. Balsar

    I'm infuriated. This family lying, telling their children to lie and causing panic across the country. I hope they are made to pay every penny of the rescue and do some time in jail. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  22. Matthew Johnson

    As soon as I realized it was that same nut job from the Wife Swap (I saw that episode), I had a feeling it was a hoax. Then hearing the interview of the 6-year old saying that "it was for show", I am sure it was a hoax. There should be an investigation and the Heene's should be legally fined for this shenanigan!

    October 16, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  23. George

    This wasn't a scam. This is a loving family. I'm so happy this wonderful family found their child alive. You people are jealous their on tv and now they are movie stars you are jealous.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  24. paula

    Clearly the child is 6 years old,people should realize he meant they were on the show tonight.people are ignorant, I believe the family, doesn't anyone have any 6 year olds?

    October 16, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  25. Tiffany

    I am a resident of fort collins and i would hate to be paying my taxes for this publicity stunt that this guy did.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  26. Peggy D

    I look forward to watching CNN everyday, and now my best friend who
    never watched your show is a fan. This event today was no more than a SHOW, as the child stated. I hope they (the parents) go to jail and the authorities remove the children from this home. This is one reason our children are committing horrible crimes.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:12 am |
  27. Ron

    Definitely a scam, daddy was really flustered when Falcon sold him out!!!! Too Funny!! From the mouth of babes!!

    October 16, 2009 at 1:10 am |
  28. Olga

    If the father built the balloon, then he knew by looking at it that the kid was not inside, as the kid would have been hanging from a basket. It was a cruel hoax, that at the time kept most people terrified for the kid and family. I hope no one pays them now to have the family in TV shows or writing a book. I for one will not watch such a program or buy a product sponsored in it. The family should be investigated and prosecuted. What a horrible way to bring up kids- teacing them to lie to the word!!

    October 16, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  29. Newt

    Big time publicity stunt from a guy looking for money to fund is latest harebrained ideas. Someone should ask some tough questions about what really happened.

    October 16, 2009 at 12:17 am |
  30. Mark

    15 minutes of fame – $28,000 in taxpayers money
    Good defense attorney – $100,000
    Falcon spilling the beans on national TV – Priceless

    October 15, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
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