Published January 14, 2015
Richard Heene, the amateur scientist from Colorado whose family is being scrutinized after the high-flying balloon scare involving his 6-year-old son, announced Saturday morning that he plans to hold a press conference to make a "big announcement," according to 9news.com.
The announcement is due at 10 a.m., or noon EDT. The Larimer County Sheriff's Office in Colorado told Foxnews.com that it is unaware of what the announcement will be.
Meanwhile, a student who says he worked with Richard Heene, the amateur scientist from Colorado whose family is claims to have proof that the incident was not an accident, according to a Web site called The Business Insider.
Authorities are checking into whether the incident was a hoax but have said so far that there is no evidence of a stunt.
The student, who remains anonymous, told The Business Insider that he worked with Heene in 2009 on potential reality show proposals to pitch to ABC.
He says that he and Heene pitched a show that would include several pranks, one of which was similar to the high-flying balloon incident, according to The Business Insider.
"When Mr. Heene is denying having any involvement with this being for a show — when the little kid, Falcon, says 'Dad, you said to go hide in the attic, we're doing this for the show' — and then he's adamantly denying that, that's when I started cracking up because I have proof that that's not true," said the student, according to The Business Insider.
A spokesperson from the Larimer County Sheriff's Office has not returned Foxnews.com's request for comment.
Police said Friday that they think the parents' fear for their boy was genuine but want to investigate further, after a strange comment the boy made on TV and the release of a home video of the balloon's takeoff.
Child Protective Services has also reportedly been asked to interview Falcon Heene's family and Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said they would "probably open an investigation."
ABC News reported Alderden as saying he requested CPS wait to interview the boy and his family until after law enforcement was able to question the family Saturday.
He called the move to contact CPS standard in cases involving children.
Falcon Heene was believed to have been trapped Thursday in a 20-foot homemade helium balloon shaped like a flying saucer after it escaped into the air from the family's backyard. As a national TV audience watched the live footage unfold, authorities chased the balloon for 50 miles before it crashed gently in a field, revealing that no one was inside.
That spawned an extensive ground search that ended when Falcon turned up back at home, saying that he had been in an attic above the garage the whole time.
The family is familiar with the media spotlight, most notably in appearances on the ABC series "Wife Swap," and the father, Richard Heene, is an avid storm-chaser who has helped produced videos on various science and pseudo-science issues.
Heene and his wife, Mayumi, have said they didn't think Falcon was in the balloon until one of their other sons said he had seen the boy climb into an attached compartment.
But suspicion was raised during a live interview Thursday night on CNN, when Falcon said he heard his family calling his name as he hid in the rafters of their garage.
Falcon's father asked, "Why didn't you come out?" The boy answered, "You had said we did this for a show."
Richard Heene bristled when the family was asked to clarify Falcon's comment. Heene said he didn't know what his son meant.
After the CNN interview, Heene told KUSA-TV in Denver that he thought his son was referring to Richard Heene said accusations that the ordeal was a publicity stunt are "extremely pathetic."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.