Mexico was fascinated by the story of Frida Sofia, a girl who was supposedly trapped in the rubble caused by a massive earthquake that rocked the country.
Reports claimed the girl wiggled her fingers, told rescue workers her name and that there were others trapped near her after the Enrique Rebsamen school collapsed in Mexico City. Media, rescuers and leaders across the country repeated Frida Sofia's story, which quickly became a national fixation.
"We want to emphasize that we have no knowledge about the report that emerged with the name of a girl," said Mexican Navy Assistant Secretary Angel Enrique Sarmiento on Thursday. "We never had any knowledge about that report, and we do not believe -- we are sure -- it was not a reality."
A camera lowered into the collapsed school showed blood tracks, but the only missing person it could have been was a school employee. There was no evidence of a young girl wiggling her fingers or shouting her name to rescuers.
The story led to donations of cranes and power tools in an effort to aid the forlorn girl. It is unclear if the story distracted from rescue efforts, but it undoubtedly held the attention of onlookers.
"I don't think there was bad faith involved," Alejandro Hope, a security analyst, told AP. "You want to believe there are children still alive down there."
It was an unlikely story from the beginning.
No one could find Frida Sofia's relatives, and there were no students with that name who were known to have attended the school. Rescue workers who noted they were separated from her by piles of rubble still reported seeing her.
"It was confusion," said Alfredo Padilla, who worked as a rescue worker at the school. "The important thing is there are signs of life and we are working on that."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.