Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend was born and died on social media

Manti Te’o gave several interviews about the death of his girlfriend Lennay Kekua.

(Credit: Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET)

Fraud of the death of the girlfriend of the famous football player was built entirely on the Internet, but it was those same tools online that also left a trail that revealed the truth.

Manti Te’o story was a picture of a football player overcoming adversity heartbroken – triumphing over the tragic death of his girlfriend.

The devout Mormon, Notre Dame linebacker, and Heisman Trophy finalist for the 2012 first suffered the loss of his grandmother, then his girlfriend to leukemia. The day she died, he had one of the best games of his college career, recording 12 tackles.

The only problem is that she did not die … because apparently never existed.

In a thorough, Deadspin Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey detail how Te’o started dating a virtual woman and how their relationship blossomed into social media – and, therefore, how the truth is out sleuthed through the avenues in same line.

According to information collected by various Deadspin, Te’o apparently met his fake 22 year old girlfriend Lennay Kekua after Stanford vs. Notre Dame football game in November 2009. After phoning, e-mailing, and meet in Hawaii, decided to form a pair in early 2012. After recovering from a car accident in the summer, was hospitalized with leukemia – and did not survive.

The last words of Kekua to Te’o were “I love you”, according to a “College GameDay” interview with the football player. And, a “CBS This Morning” profile Te’o will to overcome the loss, showed a photo of Kekua along with the quote from her that said, “Honey, if something happens to me, I promise I’ll be there and you I will play and you will honor me by the way you play. “

However, Deadspin found no accounts Kekua birth, death, or school records. The woman whose images graced newspapers and television programs as deceased girlfriend Te’o is actually someone who lives in Torrance, California, who has never met the star athlete and not suffering from leukemia. This woman’s identity has remained anonymous to protect their privacy.

In an interview tonight on CNN Anderson Cooper, Burke said the investigation began Deadspin last week with an anonymous e-mail. A search on Google for “Lennay Kekua” but presented only links to stories about his death – nothing before.

Calls to Stanford and Southern California morgues turned up nothing, he said. The key came when they found the photos representing Kekua and were able to track down the real person in images. “That kind of everything open,” he said.

Looking back on social media, Deadspin was able to retrace Kekua Te’o and virtual relationship that started on Twitter in October 2011. Throughout their courtship, Kekua name went from lovalovaloveYOU Twitter to @ @ @ LoveMSMK to LennayKay.

All photos associated with social accounts Kekua media were of the woman who lives in Torrance. Apparently she knew a friend named Te’o of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo believed that caught your photos and football player helped build his virtual girlfriend.

While Te’o gave interviews about his relationship with Kekua and loss, as well as details about how they met at Stanford and talked for hours on the phone, now denying any involvement in this deception.

Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown and assistant vice president told Clarin that Te’o “was the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated himself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead you to believe that he died tragically of leukemia. “

Meanwhile, in his own statement Te’o said: “This is very embarrassing to talk about, but for a long time, I have developed an emotional relationship with a woman he met online. We kept what we thought to be a authentic relationship often communicating online and by phone, and I came to care deeply for her. Realize that I was the victim of what appeared to joke with someone and was constant lies, and is painful and humiliating ” .

Although never existed Kekua, grandmother of Annette Santiago Te’o will spend the September 11, 2012.

Today’s Twitter profile Te’o is headed by a quotation from Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo “, a well-known novel about a man of many identities. “Life is a storm … You will bask in the sunlight one moment, crashing against the rocks below. What makes you a man is what you do when the storm comes.”


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