Fake girlfriend reportedly told Manti Te’o she faked death to avoid drug dealers
The person posing as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, told the former Notre Dame linebacker in December that she faked her death in September in order to avoid drug dealers, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.
According to a timeline of events provided by Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick on Wednesday shortly after Deadspin broke the story of Te’o’s girlfriend being a hoax, the linebacker first realized something was wrong with the Kekua situation when he received a phone call from the number he associated with her while he was in Orlando for a college football awards show on Dec. 6.
The Star Advertiser says Te’o has told friends and family that the woman whose voice he knew to be Kekua’s called him in December and said she had to fake her death in September in order to avoid drug dealers. Te’o reportedly told friends and family that the woman tried to re-engage in a relationship with him. Te’o asked the woman to send him a time-stamped photo to help him sort through the matter. His suspicion remained even after receiving the photo, and he later told his family and the school about the scam.
Notre Dame said on Wednesday that Te’o alerted them about the hoax on Dec. 26, nearly three weeks after they say he received the bizarre phone call from the person posing as Kekua.
ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap reported that Te’o told him a similar story about Kekua resurfacing in December with a story about having to avoid drug dealers.
Deadspin reported on Wednesday that a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was behind the Kekua scam. Tuiasosopo reportedly admitted to a friend in December that he scammed Te’o.