A Tennessee Santa Claus may not have been truthful when he claimed he comforted a terminally ill boy who died in his arms.
Earlier this week, we shared the story told by 61-year old Eric Schmitt-Matzen who often plays Santa Claus around the holidays. Schmitt-Matzen said a family reached out to him to request a visit for their terminally ill 5-year-old son who wished to meet Santa before he died.
Schmitt-Matzen told a reporter at The Knoxville News Sentinel that he rushed over to the hospital just in time to hold the boy in his arms as the child drew his last breath.
The newspaper ran the story without verifying all of the facts. The Associated Press and USA Today supplied the story to thousands of newspapers and websites including the NY Daily News. The paper later retracted the story.
Schmitt-Matzen refused to reveal any further details, and said he promised the family he wouldn’t reveal the name of the boy.
An editor’s note read: “Although facts about (Schmitt-Matzen’s) background have checked out, his story of bringing a gift to a dying child remains unverified.” The note added that, “The News Sentinel cannot establish that Schmitt-Matzen’s account is inaccurate, but more importantly, ongoing reporting cannot establish that it is accurate.”
Do you think this Santa should be on the “naughty list?”
More info here from SNOPES: