When 6-year-old Falcon Heene was found hiding in his attic instead of trapped in a homemade hot-air balloon that had been released into the sky, the blame was placed on his dad, Richard Heene. Did he use his family to gain media attention for a reality show he's been working on? He and his wife, Mayumi, say no, but family acquaintances tell Life & Style that the father of three has always been more concerned with fame than the well-being of his family.
"I wasn't surprised at all when I found out about the balloon," Heene's former business partner, Perry Caravello, tells Life & Style. "He came up with this concoction to get attention -- he's a media whore."
Not only is Richard's main concern fame, but he's also an emotionally abusive father and husband, Caravello says.
"The guy could not be kind to anyone. He would blow up at people. [His wife] had no backbone. He'd scream and yell, and she would just take it and do whatever he would say like she was a slave. With the kids -- he's verbally abusive. He yells all the time."
Carrie Cavalier -- who was a former landlord to the Heene family -- had an experience with Richard that wasn't much different.
"The moment I saw what was going on, even before people were saying it was a hoax, I thought he must be thrilled with the attention," Cavalier tells Life & Style.
"He has no boundaries. He would take his kids out of school to do the storm chasing. You can't just do that, but he would. It's all about what he wants, not about what's best for his family."
"I think his wife is terrified," Cavalier says. "You would see her nodding and following him like a puppy -- it's very sad."
"I think the man is dangerous," she continues. "The kids live in fear; she lives in fear.
I hope they punish him."
For more details on the Heene family, check out this week's issue of Life & Style, on newsstands now!
Photo Credit: Landov
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