An amateur storm scientist staged a hoax involving his son drifting
off in a balloon because he fears the world will end in 2012, a
researcher has claimed.Richard Heene
is suspected of attempting a publicity stunt in Fort Collins, Colorado, in a bid to get his own reality TV show.
Robert Thomas, who recorded Heene's ideas, told investigators the
"obsessed" father wanted fame to earn money for a bunker that would
save him from an apocalypse.
"Heene believes the world is going to end in 2012," Mr Thomas' lawyer Linda Lee said.
"Because of that, he wanted to make money quickly, become rich
enough to build a bunker or something underground, where he can be safe
from the sun exploding."
Police believe Heene, and his wife Mayumi, should be charged with
falsely reporting that their six-year-old son Falcon had floated away in the home-built helium balloon.
The boy, who was later found at the family home, told reporters he had been hiding in a garage.
Heene was apparently planning a show that focussed on a range of
bizarre experiments, like trying to attract UFOs with a weather balloon.
Mr Thomas worked with Mr Heene on the idea for the programme from March until May.
Police interviewed the researcher after he revealed the amateur
scientist was planning a media stunt to promote the show, Ms Lee said.
Mr Thomas' notes included Mr Heene discussing a hoax that involved a hot air balloon, the lawyer added.