After a CNN interview in which Falcon said he was hiding for "a show," Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden told the AP: "It has raised some questions. Our personnel who were dealing with the family all day are convinced this is a legitimate incident and this is not a hoax."
Still, in light of the interview, Alderden said, "We intend to go back and further ask the family to cooperate with our investigation through answering more questions and resolve this issue."
The Heenes aren't the types to shy from attention, with boys featured in a rap music video on YouTube and the whole family appearing on the ABC show "Wife Swap."
The show promoted the Heene family as storm chasers who also "devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm."
It was five hours from the time the oldest boy reported that Falcon, the youngest, had climbed into a saucer-shaped balloon that had drifted off, setting off a search that included military helicopters and a plan to either lower a person to the craft of place weights on the balloon to bring it down. Officials rerouted planes around the balloon's flight path and briefly shut down Denver International Airport.
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Heene said the family was tinkering with the balloon Thursday and that he scolded Falcon for getting inside a compartment on the craft. It was designed to hover about 50 to 100 feet from the ground but it broke loose from its tether.
Falcon's brother said he had seen him inside the compartment before it took off and that's why they thought he was in there when it launched. But the boy had gone to the garage rafters at some point and was never in the balloon during its two-hour, 50-mile journey through two counties.
"I was in the attic and he scared me because he yelled at me," Falcon said. "That's why I went in the attic."
During a live interview with CNN, Falcon said he had heard his family calling his name.
"You did?" the boy's mother, Mayumi Heene, said.
"Why didn't you come out?" Richard Heene said.
Falcon answered, "You had said that we did this for a show."
Later, Richard Heene bristled when the family was asked to clarify and said he didn't know what his son meant. He didn't ask his son what he meant by "a show."
"I'm kind of appalled after all the feelings that I went through, up and down, that you guys are trying to suggest something else," Richard Heene said.
Neighbor Bob Licko, 65, Licko said that while the balloon floated over Colorado Thursday, Mayumi Heene seemed distraught.
Richard Heene said he called the Federal Aviation Administration first before calling 911.
The saucer-like craft tipped precariously at times before gliding to the ground in a field.
With the child nowhere in sight, investigators searched the balloon's path. Several people reported seeing something fall from the craft while it was in the air, and yellow crime-scene tape was placed around the home.
Then, came news that Falcon had been hiding in a box in rafters in the garage.
A short time after sheriff's officials and reporters left the house Thursday evening, the three boys had wrapped themselves in the yellow police tape that had surrounded the house.
"They were just very adventurous kids," said Josh Dengler, 32, another neighbor. "I don't think it was a hoax. I don't think they were hiding him, I think he was just a genuinely scared 6-year-old hiding."