Balloon Boy’s parents pardoned by Colorado governor

Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday pardoned the parents behind the 2009 “Balloon Boy” hoax, saying Richard and Mayumi Heene have suffered enough since claiming their 6-year-old son was trapped inside a saucer-shaped balloon that had flown away from their Fort Collins home.

Polis granted clemency to 20 others, including people convicted in drug cases and for lower-level crimes like harassment, burglary and assault.

The incident gained national notoriety, as many followed the saga of the balloon that floated all the way to Denver — only to be found empty when it landed.

A search by national and local authorities for the boy ultimately found him hiding in his parents’ attic. The young boy, Falcon, later said it was “for the show” and his mother admitted to investigators that it was a hoax.

Although Mayumi Heene pleaded guilty to false reporting to authorities and Richard Heene to attempting to influence a public servant, they continued to maintain that it was not a publicity stunt and they were pressured into their pleas to avoid Mayumi Heene’s potential deportation.

“You and your husband were involved in a very high profile incident that garnered attention across Colorado and across the country,” Polis wrote in his letter to Mayumi Heene. “You wrote to me that you regret that anything you did could have caused anyone harm or inconvenience. I believe you and trust that the legal and social consequences you have suffered in the intervening years will prevent you from ever repeating your past mistakes.”

In Richard Heene’s letter, Polis said, “You wrote to me that you have taught your three children to be honest and hardworking, and you have been diligently passing on your construction trade to your sons. I believe you and trust that the legal and social consequences you have suffered in the intervening years will prevent you from ever repeating your past mistakes.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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