13 Nov 2009

'Balloon boy' parents expected to admit charges

8:42 am on 13 November 2009

The parents of a boy believed to be adrift in a helium balloon which prompted a major alert in the United States are to admit charges, according to their lawyer.

Richard and Mayumi Heene reported that their six-year-old son Falcon had been carried away by a helium balloon - whose progress was then tracked by news organisations, the BBC reports.

Police carried out an intensive search for the boy after the balloon landed about 64km north of Denver in the state of Colorado and was found to be empty.

It then transpired that the child was hiding at home and days later the couple were accused of an elaborate hoax.

Police accused the family of masterminding the balloon incident on 15 October as part of a bid for publicity.

According to a statement from lawyer David Lane, Mayumi Heene, 45, will admit a misdemeanour charge of false reporting to authorities, while Richard Heene, 48, will admit to the criminal charge of attempting to influence a public servant.

They will enter their pleas in a county court in the state of Colorado on Friday.

The stipulated sentences for both are probation, Mr Lane's statement said, with the possibility of up to 60 days in jail for Mrs Heene and up to 90 days for Mr Heene.