Balloon-Boy Father



A while back, the nation was captivated by the report that a 6-year-old boy was trapped inside a homemade saucer-type balloon. The boy's parents reported the incident to the local authorities and a multi-state response was immediately initiated. As it turned out, the boy was NOT inside the balloon, but was hiding in the garage of the family home. The kicker is that the parents KNEW he was not inside the balloon but reported it as a publicity stunt to garner media attention.

There are a lot of great indicators including verbal, emotional and behavioral cues which indicate that this event did not happen. First, early on Diane Sawyer commented on a video she was watching and sharing with the Henne family that Mr. Henne looked angry, because he yelled and kicked something, then ran off. His response was "Um, well, yeah, um, Naomi I'm sorry for yelling at you by the way." There was a conflict between his behavior, which was anger, and a lack of commitment with his response. This conflict should lead investigators to question if the emotion in the video was real or if it was staged or an act.

Sadly, about halfway through the video the little boy (The Balloon Boy) who was the "star" of the report got sick and threw up. The previous evening on another news show he unexpectedly told the reporter that "you guys said we did this for a show." When Diane Sawyer asked about that is when the boy started getting sick. His father, Mr. Henne, said his son has asthma and when he starts to get an attack he gets queasy. At this point Mr. Henne exhibited a lot of nervous behavior, lip-biting, hesitations in his speech, etc. It is likely that he knew his son was getting sick because he was having to maintain a lie and this was really getting to the father. Mr. Henne tried to rationalize why his son made those previous comments as well. Diane Sawyer asked the two older boys if they also thought it was for a show, and anxiety was evident in them as well, with both of them hesitating with their response and immediately looking down and away.

The last couple minutes of the video Diane Sawyer stated that they have been getting comments that this story looks like a publicity stunt. Mr. Henne's response was "Well, you know, they weren't there. Um, I went through such a roller coaster of um, emotions yesterday, um, to have people say that I think is extremely pathetic. Um, we were holding on to every second, you know, every second just hoping that, uh, he was going to come out of it ok. And um, I mean, I'm not selling anything. This is what we do all of the time. We made out , uh, the Henne family schedule in advance, a year in advance, what were gunna do, where were gunna do it, and um, I'm not selling anything, you know, I don't have a can of beans I trying to promote. So uh, this is just another day in the life of what we do." He says a lot but does not deny the accusation that it was a publicity stunt.


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