Parents in 2009 ‘Balloon Boy’ hoax pardoned by Colorado governor

U.S. & World

DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday announced pardons were granted to the “Balloon Boy” parents responsible for an elaborate hoax in 2009. The pair claimed their six-year-old son was trapped inside a helium-filled gas balloon flying over Fort Collins, Colorado.

Richard and Mayumi Heene, the parents of Falcon Heene, received pardons for the prank that attracted worldwide attention as national guard helicopters and police pursued the balloon. It flew for more than an hour and traveled over 50 miles across Colorado.

In November 2009, Richard Heene pleaded guilty to attempting to influence a public servant. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay $36,000 in restitution, and Mayumi Heene was sentenced to 20 days of weekend jail.

“In the case of Richard and Mayumi Heene, the ‘balloon boy’ parents, we are all ready to move past the spectacle from a decade ago that wasted the precious time and resources of law enforcement officials and the general public. Richard and Mayumi have paid the price in the eyes of the public, served their sentences, and it’s time for all of us to move on. It’s time to no longer let a permanent criminal record from the balloon boy saga follow and drag down the parents for the rest of their lives,” said Gov. Polis in a statement.

According to Polis’ office, the Heene pardons were among four commutations and 18 pardons announced Wednesday.

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