Colorado’s Balloon Boy saga may be a hoax, but Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden was working his own subterfuge as well, the Denver Post reports. “I think we came close to misleading the media,” he said. “I apologize.” Alderden said his assurances to the media last week that investigators believed the story told by tiny 6-year-old Falcon Heene and his seemingly distraught “actor” parents were overstated. “We did this to make them believe we were still on their side,” Alderden said. “We established trust.”
The investigators got Richard Heene and his wife, Mayumi, separated, and they asked her to also come to department headquarters Saturday to answer a few questions. “We separated them and got them on our turf,” Alderden said. “We had to get someone talking, telling us that they did this.” Under the guise that they wished to help them get the “media frenzy off their back,” investigators asked the Heenes to take polygraph tests, he said. While the Heenes face possible charges for lying to authorities, it is not illegal for investigators to deceive suspects, Alderden said.