Normally, Christmas time conjures warm thoughts of being surrounded by loved ones, delicious food, and merriment. The victims of these four scary Santas thought they were safe to enjoy the Christmas cheer, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. The atrocities of these cases will expunge any visions of sweet sugar plums and leave you wondering if Santa can truly be trusted to come down your chimney.
Bruce McArthur was known to family and friends as a wholesome grandfather, diligent landscaper, and cheerful mall Santa Claus. However, when the truth came out that this secret Santa was actually a gruesome serial killer, loved ones were horrified.
Between the years of 2010 and 2017, McArthur preyed on the LGBTQ+ community living in Toronto’s Gay Village. Over the years, he managed to lure eight men to his home, slowly torturing them, killing them, and then performing lewd acts to their dead bodies. From there, he dismembered the victims and buried their remains in various potted plants at the homes he landscaped to cover up his crimes. When police were eventually tipped off that he could be a suspect, they went to pick him up and found a man tied to his bed. After further exploration, the police found a hard drive containing a folder for each of his victims, including a ninth for the man saved just in time. These folders contained photos of the men, dead and alive, with many of their corpses posed in explicit fashions.
This St. Nick, that was truly a sadistic necrophiliac, was sentenced to life in prison. However, the lives of his victims and their loved ones remain forever changed. Rest in Peace to Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam.
For many small children on Christmas Eve, nothing is more exciting than seeing Santa Claus knock on your door. However, when this jolly old fellow was let in, he opened fire on the Ortega family, leaving nine of them to perish. Bruce Pardo, Sylvia Ortega’s ex-husband, plotted his revenge for quite some time before taking Sylvia’s life and the lives of those she held dear.
On the night of Christmas Eve, 2008, the Ortega family threw a party with around 25 to 30 guests at their home in the suburbs of LA, California. Shortly after dinner, Pardo arrives at the residence dressed as Mr. Claus. When 8-year-old Katrina opens the door with a smiling face, she is greeted by two handguns, sending the guests into a frenzy. Many of the adults were packed near the front of the house, making small talk before planning to leave and putting them right in the line of fire. Meanwhile, most of the children were huddled at the back near the television.
Parents frantically screamed, trying to grab their children and escape. Some guests even hid under tables to try and find protection from the crazy Claus. Once Pardo had his fill of shooting, he broke out a homemade flamethrower that quickly engulfed the home in flames, killing a teenager on the second floor. He planned to escape that night with a plane ticket to Illinois. However, the flamethrower had scorched him in the process, leaving him with second and third-degree burns. So, instead of fleeing the state, he drove to his brother’s home 40 miles away, where he took his own life with a bullet through his brain.
While this demented Santa has been put to bed, the lives of his victim’s loved ones still move forward in agony over their loss. Pardo’s rampage was labeled the Covina Massacre, as it took nine lives: Sylvia Pardo; her parents, Joseph Ortega and Alicia Ortega; her two brothers, James Ortega and Charles Ortega, and their wives, Teresa and Cheri; Sylvia Pardo’s sister, Alicia Ortiz, and her son, Michael Ortiz. May they rest in peace.
On a calm Christmas morning, the Yazdanpanah family embarked on opening up gifts and spending time with their loved ones. Aziz Yazdanpanah and his wife had separated in recent months, but no one thought it odd when he showed up in a jolly Santa suit. His niece, 22-year-old Sara Zarei, even sent a text that stated Yazdanpanah was attempting to be “all fatherly.” However, the typical holiday chaos we all know quickly spurred into the chaos that can only be conjured in nightmares.
Yazdanpanah began to open fire on his family, killing all six of his loved ones in the apartment on Christmas morning. Before taking his own life, he proceeded to make a panicked 911 call where he stated, “Help…Help…I am shooting people.” When the police finally arrived at the residence in Grapevine, Texas, seven dead bodies were discovered lying amongst a brutal crime scene. The murder weapons consisted of two guns, found within a pile of Christmas wrapping paper.
Friends of the family speculate his motive to be linked to the separation or possible financial trouble. But regardless of Yazdanpanah’s incentive, the lives of his victims, better known as his family, will be mourned forever. In the end, Yazdanpanah murdered his wife of 24 years, Fatemah Rahmati; his daughter, Nona Yazdanpanah; his son, Ali Yazdanpanah; his sister-in-law, Zohreh Rahmaty; his brother-in-law, Hossein Zarei; and his niece, Sara Zarei. May they all rest in peace.