DENVER – Prosecutors said Tuesday they haven't decided whether to file charges against the parents accused of falsely reporting their son was in a runaway balloon, sparking a massive rescue attempt before the boy was found at the family's Fort Collins home.
The father's attorney, David Lane, also announced Tuesday that a special prosecutor has been named to review his complaint concerning the sheriff investigating the couple.
Sheriff's investigators turned their case over to the district attorney on Monday. Prosecutors are waiting for more information from the sheriff before deciding whether to file charges against Richard and Mayumi Heene, Larimer County district attorney's spokeswoman Linda Jensen said.
She would not say what kind of information prosecutors are waiting for or when a decision might be reached.
Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden has said the Heenes were lying when they reported their 6-year-old son Falcon was in a homemade helium balloon that lifted off from their back yard in Fort Collins on Oct. 15, drifted across two counties and landed in a farm field.
Alderden said the whole thing was a hoax to generate publicity for the couple, who have appeared on the ABC reality show "Wife Swap" and were trying to arrange another show.
Lane, the lawyer representing Richard Heene, claims Alderden broke privacy laws by publicly saying social services were looking into the welfare of Falcon and the Heenes' two other sons, ages 8 and 10.
Lane wrote a letter to the district attorney Monday asking for an investigation and prosecution of Alderden.
He said Tuesday that Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett will investigate his complaint.
"As long as it's not a whitewash investigation, I think it's a step in the right direction," Lane said.
Larimer County District Attorney Larry Abrahamson told the Coloradoan that he sought an outside review because the allegations directly relate to a case that Alderden's office is investigating and Abrahamson's office may prosecute.
Abrahamson's office didn't return an after-hours message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Richard Heene has publicly denied the episode was a hoax, but investigators said Mayumi Heene admitted to them that it was a publicity stunt.
Mayumi Heene's attorney, Lee Christian, declined to comment on his clients' alleged confession.
He said Tuesday the couple hasn't split up.
"The family is together trying to make it through all of this," Christian wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.