Photo Credit: Wife Swap/ABC
The eyes of America were on Falcon Heene (aka "Balloon Boy") on Thursday after news broke that the 6-year-old had reportedly taken flight in his family's experimental balloon aircraft. Officials tracked the craft through Colorado until it finally landed and found the boy wasn't inside.
After a breathless nation waited to find out what had happened to him, it was learned that Falcon was never aboard the helium-filled craft -- but was instead hiding in his parents' attic. "Apparently the boy’s been there the whole time. He’s been hiding in cardboard box in the attic above the garage," Sheriff Jim Alderden told reporters. "I don't want to conjecture but this is not the first time we are searching for a kid and once he realizes everyone is looking for him he hides because he's afraid of getting in trouble."
One of Falcon's older brothers had told authorities that he'd seen him climb into the bottom of the balloon before it became untethered and floated into the air.
Falcon and his family have been in the spotlight before. The Heenes appeared on ABC's Wife Swap, a reality show and social experiment where families trade wives for two weeks. Here's what the show's site had to say about their unusual lifestyle:
"When the Heene family aren't chasing storms, they devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm."
While the Heenes' episode of Wife Swap is no longer available online, a homemade music video starring Falcon and his two brothers still exists on YouTube. The story also spread quickly via the Web as "Balloon Boy" became the number one trending topic on Twitter.