Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man believed to have created Te’o's fake girlfriend, “Lennay Kekua,” apparently didn’t alter his voice to sound like a female after all. According to the New York Post, Tuiasosopo’s young female cousin, Tino Tuiasosopo, was the one who spoke on the phone with Te’o throughout the course of what the Notre Dame linebacker thought was a legitimate relationship.
“Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months,” a Tuiasosopo cousin told the New York Post.
Tino Tuiasosopo reportedly convinced Te’o that her name was, in fact, “Lennay Kekua” and that the two had a real relationship. She reportedly would call Te’o at school, tell him she loved him and even sobbed hysterically when another girl answered Te’o's phone.
This revelation goes against the claims made by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s attorney, Milton Grimes. Grimes said that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo altered his masculine voice to play the role of “Kekua” on the phone. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s cousin reportedly told the New York Post that Grimes made such claims because Ronaiah “is determined to take the rap.”
Te’o said while speaking with ABC’s Katie Couric that he believes the voice he was speaking to the whole time definitely belongs to a female, and the linebacker even released voice mails he alleges were left by “Kekua.”
“There is no doubt whatsoever that it’s Tino,” one of Tino’s cousins reportedly told The Post after hearing the voice mails.
Tino Tuiasosopo is reportedly in her mid-20s, lives in Pago Pago, American Samoa and started taking part in the Te’o hoax after she was dumped from a long-distance relationship with another man.
Neither Tino nor Grimes could be reached for comment, but stay tuned, because this story isn’t going anywhere any time soon.