We’ve just been informed that the Manti Te’o not-really-dead-girlfriend hoax can all be credited to a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo — a representative for the family of the fake “Lennay Kekua!”
While Manti was supposedly “dating” Lennay … a Notre Dame die-hard fan — we’ll refer to her as “Jan” (to protect her identity)–reached out to Lennay on Twitter and began an online friendship.
After Lennay’s fabricated death, Jan joined a group called “Wear a Lei 4 Manti” — in which fans wore Hawaiian leis to ND football games to show their support for the football star.
When the “Wear a Lei 4 Manti” movement first began to receive attention from the media, Jan noticed she received a follower request on Twitter from a girl named U’ilani Rae Kekua.
Jan allegedly reached out to U’ilani and asked if she was related to Lennay — to which U’ilani replied, “Yes, that’s my baby sister.”
The two would both be attending the Notre Dame vs. USC game in L.A. that took place November 24, 2012 … so Jan sent U’ilani her contact information in case she wanted to meet up.
Here’s where things get weird … Jan informed TMZ that she had received a phone call from U’ilani on the day of the game directing her to the famous Tommy Trojan statue in front of the stadium, so they could meet up.
But when Jan arrived to the statue… U’ilani was NOT there! Instead she was met by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Jan and Ronaiah even took a photo together!
According to the Deadspin article, Ronaiah was the person who obtained the photo of the woman everyone believed to be Lennay … and is suspected of having a major role in the hoax.
Jan tells us Ronaiah was with a little girl –who they called Pookah — and together, they explained how Lennay’s sister couldn’t come down to visit… so they came instead!
Jan says Ronaiah “made it seem as if he was a member of Lennay’s family.”
After taking a picture together — Jan says Ronaiah began to act paranoid … and told her, “Make sure you don’t post this photo online.”
Soon after the game, Jan says she was contacted by U’ilani … who made it clear she did not want her to post the picture of Ronaiah.
She didn’t explain why!
U’ilani later messaged a photo (below) to Jan which displayed a woman at a cemetery — and told her, “This is me and my family at Lennay’s gravesite. We’re spending the day here.”
The woman in the photo is not U’ilani (she doesn’t really exist) … and after some investigation it was concluded that the woman in the photo is actually a woman named Donna Tei…who apparently doesn’t seem to have a relationship with anyone involved in the hoax.
Jan tells TMZ Lennay’s “sister” continued keep in contact with her after the USC game … and revealed some more bad news — little Pookah had been diagnosed with lupus and was dying in a children’s hospital in Orange County, CA.
Jan–showing signs of humility– said she wanted to send flowers — so Lennay’s “sister” gave her an address. TMZ has learned the address belongs to a member of the Tuiasosopo family.
Jan also gave us the phone number Lennay’s sister would use to contact her — and we found out the number is registered to a man named Titus Tuiasosopo — Ronaiah’s father.
Ronaiah has yet to comment to the media about the story!
Ashton Tyler | Elite.
Photo Credit: Getty Images