Everything the Internet Knows About the Boy in the Balloon
Richard and Mayumi Heene, the parents of Falcon, who is missing after having apparently floated away in a helium balloon-craft built by his parents, have left a long and wide internet trail. Here's what we know.
The Heenes have lived a self-consciously adventurous life, and sought to engage their children in it. Richard is a stormchaser, an amateur scientist (with some strange theories about civilization on Mars), and an avid self-promoter. When the family appeared on ABC's Wife Swap last year, the episode's set-up was that a stuffy, safety-obsessed woman was saddled with Richard and his wild boys. Here's a wrap-up of the show, featuring Falcon, the missing boy, saying, "Fuck this rule!"
Here is a report on the Heenes from a local Colorado station last year when they went as a family to chase Hurrican Gustav. Heene tells the reporter that "safety is always first" when chasing storms and that he hopes his sons learn the lesson of hard work and to love what they do from their excursions.
This undated family rap, apparently self-produced, features the boys and plenty of home video that somehow made it onto the internet.
Here is Heene, in a video he uploaded to CNN's iReport, explaining his discovery of life on Mars. This could be tongue-in-cheek.
And here's a YouTube video of Heene explaining his suspicion that John F. Kennedy Jr.'s death in a plane crash was faked. We're not entirely sure that this—and the above Mars video—isn't a gonzo persona of some sort.
Heene had a web show called "The Science Detectives"—alternatively spelled "The Psyience Detectives." Video of him discussing the science of 2012 end-of-the-world predictions can be seen here.
Richard and his wife Mayumi also created children's videos, including this instructional video on how to build fire trucks, trains and airplanes for your kids to play in out of cardboard boxes.
Our sincere hope is that this was all a hoax.