The search for 'Frida Sofia' prompted widespread media coverage following Tuesday's devastating quake
There has been shock in Mexico after it emerged that a young girl believed trapped in the rubble of a collapsed school never existed.
It came as the death toll from Tuesday's 7.1 magnitude quake has risen to more than 270 people.
Intense efforts are continuing to find any survivors, with rescue teams believing people could still be alive in 10 flattened buildings across the capital.
Much of the national attention, however, has focused on a collapsed school, where at least 25 people - including 19 children - died.
At least 11 children had been rescued from the rubble of the Enrique Rebsamen school.
The search at the school made international headlines amid claims a 12-year-old girl - who local media named 'Frida Sofia' - was trapped inside.
The Navy said it had been working to rescue the girl, amid reports that she was in contact with schoolmates and had been seen wiggling her fingers.
It prompted more than 24-hours of around-the-clock live television coverage of the operation at the school, including on the major broadcaster Televisa, while thousands of social media users posted messages of support.
Suspicions began to be raised about the story on Wednesday, as it became clear there was nobody named Frida Sofia registered at the school.
As the search continued, there was also no sign of any family or friends searching for a missing girl.
On Thursday, officials finally confirmed that there was no Frida Sofia, and all children had been accounted for.
They said they were continuing to search amid the possibility that an adult - perhaps a female staff member - was still trapped in the rubble.
In comments quoted by the Associated Press, Navy official Angel Enrique Sarmiento said: “We want to emphasise that we have no knowledge about the report that emerged with the name of a girl.
“We never had any knowledge about that report, and we do not believe - we are sure - it was not a reality.”
The revelations prompted shock and anger, with many claiming the story was an example of 'fake news'.
El Pais reports that one journalist at the scene claimed the incident "played with the feelings of the people at a very delicate time".
Popular TV anchor Carlos Loret de Mola tweeted: "The federal government always told us there was a girl and that they were about to rescue her. Now they changed the version. Outrageous."
El gobierno federal nos dijo siempre que había una niña y que estaban a punto de rescatarla con vida. Ahora cambian la versión. Indignante.— Carlos Loret de Mola (@CarlosLoret) September 21, 2017
A number of media outlets, including the El Pais newspaper, reported that a similar incident happened in the aftermath of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake that left thousands dead.
A huge search effort was launched for a 'trapped' 9-year-old boy who turned out to have never existed.