Terminally ill 5-year-old boy dies in Santa's arms
NOTE: The Knoxville News Sentinel now reports that it was unable to verify Eric Schmitt-Matzen's statements. Click here for more information.
KNOXVILLE - A Tennessee Santa Claus says a terminally ill 5-year-old boy died in his arms after he gave the boy a present in the hospital.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports Eric Schmitt-Matzen, who does about 80 events a year as Santa, was asked a few weeks ago to visit the dying boy.
Schmitt-Matzen says after giving the boy a toy, the boy asked how he would be able to tell when he got to where he was going after he died. Schmitt-Matzen told him to tell them he was "Santa's Number One elf" and they would let him in.
He says the boy gave him a big hug, asked "Santa, can you help me?" and died in his arms.
Schmitt-Matzen says it took him days to recover, but he's continuing to play Santa.
Desktop NewsClick to open Continuous News in a sidebar that updates in real-time.
Wednesday 7 am Tropics Update
House fire breaks out on East Washington Street early Wednesday morning
Iberville council approves moratorium on new developments in wake of recent flooding
Sorrento teen praised for heroism after rescuing victim from partially submerged vehicle
Federal, State lawmakers look to fund construction of a new bridge