They say they can not stand by the veracity of Schmitt-Matzen's account because it does not meet the newspaper's standards of verification.
"They say I'm gonna die, ' he told me".
A Tennessee Santa Claus claims a terminally ill 5-year-old boy died in his arms.
The newspaper now says that it can not independently verify the man's story and no longer stands by it. Schmitt-Matzen says he maintains his desire to protect all names involved. "I think part of the issue here is that a lot of outlets don't give their reporters time to vet these things". Share your thoughts on Facebook here.
The Post also called about two dozen hospitals in the Tennessee area since Schmitt-Matzen's story went viral, all of which said they didn't have any documentation of it happening at their facility.
"When you get to those pearly gates, you tell 'em you're Santa's No. 1 elf, and I know they'll let you in", Schmitt-Matzen recalled telling the boy.
Eric Schmitt-Matzen is a mechanical engineer and Santa portrayer, complete with a long and lustrous full-time Santa beard.
Neither editor McElroy nor Schmitt-Matzen responded to Patch's request for comment.
"He looked up and said, 'I am?' I said 'Sure'".
Schmitt-Matzen, 61, soon made the rounds of local and national television - often repeating the story verbatim, sometimes while tearing up.
"Believe me, if there's anybody in the world who would like to see (the nurse) come out, it's me", said Schmitt-Matzen, though he doesn't want to see the boy's family go through any extra anguish.
Schmitt-Matzen, who has been donning the red suit for nearly a decade, had tearfully told his story earlier this week to TIME, along with many other media outlets.
Schmitt-Matzen account, however, can not be verified.
"I want to be that child's real Santa", he said. But the way my life's been upset in the last three days, four days, don't do it.
His Santa-like features make him a flawless fit to ride with reindeers in a sleigh, but Greenleaf says there is more to being Santa than just looking like him. Enough. You took Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.
The story was picked up nationally and internationally, and Schmitt-Matzen has given more interviews about the story, each time affirming that he is keeping the boy's information private out of respect for the family. "But, from a selfish point of view, they'd be coming to my rescue".