US authorities plan to ask new questions of the eccentric family in Colorado's runaway balloon drama to clear up suspicions of a hoax but investigators are convinced they are telling the truth.
A comment in a CNN interview and other concerns have raised speculation that the entire incident, which made headlines around the world on Friday, may have been staged.
'We feel it's incumbent on us as an agency to attempt to re-interview them and establish whether this is in fact a hoax or actual event," says Larimer County Sheriff James Alderden.
"We believe at this time that it's a real event."
Investigators with expertise in spotting deceptive behaviour have interviewed the family and believe they are not lying, Alderden says.
He says his office is being flooded with calls and messages from people insisting it must be, and putting "a lot of pressure" on authorities to charge Richard and Mayumi Heene.
A giant Mylar balloon took off from the backyard of the Heene's northern Colorado home on Friday.
The couple said they were terrified their 6-year-old son Falcon may have been on it. They couldn't find him.
When the balloon finally landed, the child was not on board. Later, he came out from hiding in the attic over the home's garage.
"I'm feeling very, very grateful that Falcon is among us," Richard Heene later told CNN's American Morning.
"We went through so many emotions yesterday."
On CNN's Larry King Live, the Heene parents asked Falcon why he had not come out from hiding when they were calling for him.
"You guys said we did this for the show," he said.
The family chases storms and takes videos of some. The Heenes also were featured in March on the ABC program Wife Swap.
Richard Heene has denied any hoax , saying his son was confused when he made the "show" remark.
He says there were media assembled on the front lawn, asking all sorts of questions, and that's what Falcon was referring to.
Alderden says he does not believe Falcon could have been following instructions by going into hiding.
"I just can't see this particular boy being told go sit up there for five hours and be quiet. I just don't see that, as hyperactive as he is," the sheriff says.
If it is determined that the incident was a hoax, "the only thing we have is them making a false report to authorities, which is a Class 3 misdemeanour," Alderden says.
"If there is criminal conduct, we certainly would seek restitution."
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