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Affidavit: Mom calls balloon saga hoax

DENVER — The mother of the 6-year-old boy once feared missing inside a runaway helium balloon admitted the whole saga was a hoax, according to court documents released Friday.

Mayumi Heene told sheriff's deputies that she and her husband, Richard, "knew all along that Falcon was hiding in the residence" in Fort Collins, according to an affidavit used to get a search warrant for the home.

She allegedly told investigators the incident was a hoax meant to make them more marketable to the media.

"Mayumi described that she and Richard Heene devised this hoax approximately two weeks earlier.... She and Richard had instructed their three children to lie to authorities as well as the media regarding this hoax," the affidavit said.

Richard Heene has denied a hoax. His lawyer, David Lane, said Friday that he is waiting to see the evidence in the case.

"Allegations are cheap," Lane said.

Mayumi Heene's lawyer, Lee Christian, was traveling and didn't immediately respond to messages left with his office.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden has said he will recommend charges against the Heenes including conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to authorities, and attempting to influence a public servant. The most serious charges are felonies and carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

Alderden said authorities also would be seeking restitution for the costs of the balloon chase, though he didn't provide a figure.

His office has said it will likely be next week before it forwards its findings to prosecutors to decide on charges.

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