Michael Sinkfield, 14, who attends Riverside Junior High in Fishers, said he lost his phone Friday and many of his friends then received text messages from the device Sunday night claiming to be from his father and saying the youth had died in a car crash, the Indianapolis Star reported Thursday.
The news quickly spread through social media networks, leading to shock when Sinkfield boarded the bus Monday morning and went to school.
"When I got on the bus in the morning people were looking at me happy, but other people were crying," the teenager said. "I asked them what was going on, and they told me what happened."
Linda McKinney, Michael's mother, said she had received a call of condolences Monday morning from principal Rob Huesing, who called back later to apologize for the mixup.
Sinkfield said whoever had his phone changed his Facebook password, so he was unable to alert friends to the lost device or log in to see the news of his own demise.
The family said they do not know who was behind the prank.