Manti Te'o Denies 'Faking It' in Girlfriend Hoax, Admits He 'Tailored' Story


For a while Kekua was unable to talk and he described the nurse-deemed "miracle" of how Kekua's breathing would pick up when she heard his voice on the phone.

"There were lengthy, long telephone conversations. There was sleeping with the phone on connected to each other," Swarbrick said. "The issue of who it is, who's playing what role, what's real and what's not here is a more complex question than I can get into."

Perhaps one of the most touching displays of love from Kekua to Te'o, he told the writer, was the one-page letter she would write him on her iPad before each game. One of her siblings, often her twin brother Noa, would then read him the letter over the phone before sending it to him.

"She and I, man, we had this relationship where it was just amazing," Te'o told Thamel. "With all of that time on her hands in the hospital, she was never thinking about herself and what was hurting her. She was just always thinking about others. She went on and wrote a letter to me before every game. Things that she would want me to know."

Kekua and her family were also in frequent contact with Te'o's family and friends.

Te'o's father, Brian Te'o, told Themel that he had received a condolence text message from Kekua after his mother died. They also spoke on the phone "at length" and Brian Te'o also spoke to Kekua's brothers after her death.

Dalton Hilliard, a close friend of Te'o's from Punahou High in Honolulu who now plays football for UCLA, told Thamel that he was often in touch with Kekua.

"She was a very supportive, loving passionate individual," Hilliard told the writer. "She was all about God and prayer and being able to have faith. Me and her never met in person. But I felt like this was a testament to who she was. She would still text and tweet me before my games."

When Kekua "died" in September 2012, the news came from her brother who texted Te'o from Kekua's phone number, he told Thamel. The brother then called Te'o to deliver the news.

"He was just crying and crying and crying," Te'o said. "I just had to calm him down. I was like, 'You have to speak clearly. I need to know what's going on.' That's when he told me, 'Lala is gone.' That's what they call her. They call her Lala."

Until speaking with Schaap, Te'o had kept a low-profile since the news of the scandal broke. He had earlier released a statement calling the situation "incredibly embarrassing" and maintaining that he was the victim of a horrible hoax.

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