Balloon boy's dad: "No hoax" - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Balloon boy's dad: "No hoax"

DENVER (AP) - The Colorado father who pleaded guilty to a felony in the runaway balloon saga insisted in an interview that the event wasn't a hoax.

In his first television interview since shortly after the Oct. 15 event, Richard Heene said that he believed that his 6-year-old son, Falcon, was in the homemade balloon when it took off from the family's Fort Collins backyard.

"We had searched the house, high and low," Heene said, choking back tears during a taped interview for "Larry King Live" that will air on CNN. "I knew he was in the craft. ... In my mind there was no other place." Heene said he pleaded guilty to a felony count of falsely influencing authorities to protect his wife, Mayumi, a Japanese citizen who he said may have faced deportation if convicted of a more serious crime. Mayumi Heene pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false reporting.

"I'm not disputing the fact that I did have to plead guilty and when I say have to, I had to do it to save my family and my wife. The threat of deportation was imminent," said Heene, an aspiring reality television show actor and backyard scientist.

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