Months before Richard Heene's "UFO-like" balloon ascended into the sky with his son supposedly on board, the amateur scientist and professional tile layer, explained on national TV his belief that aliens are humanity's ancestors, and that one spoke to him while he was at a fast-food restaurant.
Appearing in March on the ABC reality TV show "Wife Swap," he told of once passing out in a fast-food restaurant and hearing aliens speak to him. He boasted of his plans to build a flying saucer covered in aluminum foil and send it into a tornado - a scenario that brings to mind the large silver object that mesmerized American television audiences last week as it rode the wind across the Colorado sky.
Luckily, his six-year-old son Falcon was not on board as Richard Heene had originally told a 911 operator, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the media.
The incident was initially viewed as an unfortunate misunderstanding, but as of Sunday Oct. 18 Colorado law enforcement became convinced it was a hoax devised to attract media attention.
Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said he expected to recommend charges of conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to authorities and attempting to influence a public servant. Federal charges were also possible.
The most serious charges are felonies and carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Alderden said they would be seeking restitution for the costs, though he didn't have an estimate.
The sheriff also contacted Child Protective Services which means the parenting skills of Richard Heene and his wife Mayumi will likely be scrutinized by the state.
In an episode of "Wife Swap," Richard Heene pulled his children around a hockey rink on a hovercraft-like device and took them on UFO-hunting expeditions.
"I'm very grateful that America has voted for us to be on a second time," he said of his second appearance on the show. "(It's) like the best thing that's ever happened in our life. Seriously."
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