FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2013, file photo, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o answers a question during media day for the BCS national championship NCAA college football game in Miami. The wrenching story of Te'o's girlfriend dying of leukemia _ a loss he said inspired him to play his best all the way to the BCS championship _ was dismissed by the school Wednesday, Jan. 16, as a hoax perpetrated against the linebacker. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
Updated: January 24, 2013 2:30PM
Just when you think the Manti Te’o dead girlfriend story can’t get any crazier, it does.
Now comes word that the voice behind the fake girlfriend was hoax mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, according to a report in the New York Daily News on Thursday.
Using his extensive voice training, Tuiasosopo, 22, impersonated Lennay Kekua to dupe the Notre Dame linebacker, Tuiasosopo’s lawyer told the New York Daily News.
Tuiasosopo’s falsetto voice was convincing enough that Te’o reportedly made more than 1,000 calls to him.
In addition, TMZ released a video purporting to be Tuiasosopo and Te’o meeting on Nov. 23 after Notre Dame defeated USC 22-13 in Los Angeles. In the video, Tuiasosopo seeks out Te’o in a large crowd, the two speak briefly and then hug.
Te’o claims be never met Kekua in person but carried on a long relationship with her on the phone and through texting. Te’o was under the impression she died in September. In a recent interview with ESPN, Te’o said he knew of Tuiasosopo because Kekua had referred to him as her “favorite cousin.”
In advance of Teo’s taped interview with ABC’s Katie Couric on Thursday, voicemails from Kekua to Teo were released by Couric.
Here’s one below from Deadspin.com, the site that first broke this story.