This family is weird. Dad in particular seems a few screws short. They seem to live for publicity. The family went on "Wife Swap". Dad fancies himself an inventor. I think your screws must be a little loose to do reality TV. When the show, "The Biggest Loser" was in town, I did give a thought to an audition. But then I considered, not just the practical, like taking time off from work, and finding someone to look after my cats, but, well, how would my mother who-lives-in-a-small-town feel, to how would I feel about losing privacy, and being put in positions which may cause big embarrassment. So I think to be willing to gain that notoriety, even for just a short time, is to have a little bit of crazy, no?
One thing I do know: The taxpayers of Colorado should not have to pay one dime of the cost of the search and rescue. This odd ball group needs to compensate the tax payers for their lack of parental supervision, and possible collusion in ginning up a missing kid story.
And if the kid is telling the truth about being "too scared" to show himself to his father, what on earth is his father doing to him in the name of punishment?