(PCM) The viral story about Santa Claus granting the final wish for a dying child that pretty much had the entire internet in tears may in fact be a hoax. The News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tennessee published the story that was shared with them about Santa Claus actor, Eric Schmitt-Matzen who claims that the young boy tragically passed away in his arms. Schmitt-Matzen even gave several interviews to news stations across the nation retelling the story in nearly identical words to the one published by the News Sentinel.
It should be noted that Schmitt-Matzen was not the initial source in which the newspaper came across the story as it was given to them by an well-known source and Schmitt-Matzen was later contacted and asked to speak about the incident that allegedly occurred. Schmitt-Matzen agreed, however he wished to protect the identities of both the nurse who contacted and the young boys family and refused to give out any names or contact information.
The News Sentinel has attempted to further investigate Schmitt-Matzen’s claims despite his wishes for the nurse and the boy’s family to remain anonymous. The newspaper felt that they and the rest of the world need some further verification to be sure that Schmitt-Matzen’s account was accurate. They were unable to verify that Schmitt-Matzen’s account is completely accurate. His background information does check out, however they can not prove that he did indeed bring a dying child a gift to the hospital.
The newspaper is not saying that Schmitt-Matzen is lying and the entire story is a hoax, however they can not stand behind it without proper verification of the facts either. News Sentinel editor Jack McElroy claims “because the story does not meet the newspaper’s standards of verification, we are no longer standing by the veracity of Schmitt-Matzen’s account.”
We are horrified to think that someone would pull such an elaborate hoax and play with the emotions of so many people. We are going to sincerely hope that Schmitt-Matzen is telling the truth, but it doesn’t look promising! Bad Santa! Shame on you!
In his defense, Schmitt-Matzen did make a comment to the Washington Post saying “If some people want to call me a liar . . . I can handle that better than I can handle a child in my arms dying. It’s sticks and stones.”