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Richard Heene, the Fort Collins dad who recently pleaded guilty to staging the “balloon boy” hoax, now says he thought one of his sons, six-year-old Falcon, was aboard the homemade weather balloon that came unhitched from its moorings in his backyard on October 15, sending rescuers and news stations into a frenzy. In a “Larry King Live” interview that will air Friday, Heene claims “we had searched the house, high and low. I knew he was in the craft. … In my mind, there was no other place” (via the Los Angeles Times). Heene, who will spend 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to felony influencing of a public official, claims he entered the plea only to protect his family, including his wife, Mayumi, from Japan, whom he feared would be deported: “I’m not disputing the fact that I did have to plead guilty” (via the Fort Collins Coloradoan). Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden, who also spoke with Larry King, is “shocked” Heene would maintain his innocence.
“The evidence against Mr. Heene and Mayumi at this point is really overwhelming,” Alderden says. Watch the video excerpts from “Larry King Live” via CNN.