This is a nutty little story.
Manti Te'o girlfriend's death a hoax
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame says a story about Manti Te'o's
girlfriend dying, which he said inspired him to play better as he
helped the Fighting Irish get to the BCS title game, turned out to be a
hoax apparently perpetrated against the linebacker.
The university issued a news release Wednesday after Deadspin.com reported it could find no record of Lennay Kekua existing.
university says that Notre Dame coaches were informed by Te'o and his
parents on Dec. 26 that Te'o had been the victim of what appeared to be a
hoax. Someone using a fictitious name "apparently ingratiated herself"
with Te'o, the school said, then conspired with others to lead him to
believe she had died of leukemia.
The university said "the proper authorities" are investigating a "very cruel deception."
Sept. 12, Te'o learned that his 72-year-old grandmother, Annette
Santiago, had died. Te'o said he was told just six hours later that
Kekua, had lost her battle with leukemia.
According to Deadspin,
the only photos that have been found online that identified Kekua, are
actually pictures of another 22-year-old woman. That woman, who was not
named in the report, told Deadspin one of those photos likely was shared
by her former high school classmate named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
and relatives of Tuiasosopo told Deadspin they believe he created
Lennay Kekua. Kekua does not have a death certificate, Deadspin.com
reported. Stanford, where she reportedly went to school, has no record
of anybody by that name.
According to the Deadspin report, Te'o
and Tuiasosopo have been in contact via Twitter, including exchanging
several friendly messages last summer. A Notre Dame source told ESPN
that Te'o was vetted heavily when the school learned in December that
Kekua was a hoax, and said he believes Te'o was not involved. But a
friend of Tuiasosopo told Deadspin he was quote "80 percent sure" that
Te'o participated and did so with publicity in mind.
Te'o issued a statement Tuesday afternoon:
is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period
of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met
online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by
communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care
deeply about her.
"To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick
joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.
"It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed
to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way
deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.
"I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and
Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them
my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true
about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how
trying and confusing this whole experience has been.
"In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If
anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more
guarded when they engage with people online than I was.
"Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking
forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on
preparing for the NFL Draft."
Te'o is currently training in preparation for the NFL draft at the IMG
Institute in Bradenton, Fla. He is No. 8 on Mel Kiper's latest draft
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Mike Fish is included in this report.http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8851033/story-manti-teo-girlfriend-death-apparently-hoax