The New York Post is reporting today that the voice of supposedly duped Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o's non-existent girlfriend "Lennay Kekua," heard in voice mails yesterday during Katie Couric's interview with Te'o, belongs not to admitted hoaxer Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, as his lawyer told the New York Daily News, but to Tuiasosopo's (female) cousin, Tino. "Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months," another of Tuiasosopo's cousins told the Post. "There is no doubt whatsoever that it’s Tino." The theory until now had been that the person in the voicemails was Ronaiah himself, doing an eerily convincing bit of voice work, but this would perhaps make a little more sense. The Post writes that Tino, who is in her mid-twenties and lives in American Samoa, "assumed her role in the Te'o ruse after she was dumped from a long-distance relationship with another man." A source tells the paper that there were "extraordinary similarities" between Tino's and Te'o's relationships. The source adds, "[Tino] said she was talking to another person [and] he plays football for Notre Dame — number 5, Manti."
So, the plot thickens. How many people were being hoaxed here and who was hoaxing whom? Clearly Ronaiah seems to be the epicenter of all the trickery, but why? And if this voice was Tino's, it means she was complicit in passing herself off as someone named Lennay, so what was her endgame? An already deeply strange story becomes even more mysterious.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.