It may already feel like an eternity, but the story that blew up in a matter of minutes only broke on Wednesday, two days ago as of this writing.
Manti Te’o had spent the entire season under the auspices of playing for a deceased grandmother and girlfriend. His grandmother did pass away, unfortunately, at the age of 72. However, Te’o received a phone call from Lennay Kekua in early December, months after Kekua was supposed to have died from complications from leukemia.
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Their relationship, and her existence altogether, was one big hoax.
As things turned out, Te’o had developed an online relationship over the course of three years with someone he purportedly thought to be Lennay Kekua.
Te’o may have been in on it, or he may have been duped in a longstanding, elaborate hoax. Either way, the girl he had told the nation he had fallen in love with is this girl photographed above.
Her name is Diane O’Meara, she lives in Torrence, CA., and she has never met Manti Te’o, online or otherwise.
The picture was stolen from her Facebook page and used by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a former high school classmate of hers, in order to form a relationship with Te’o — at least, that is the Notre Dame version.
What we know for sure is that Te’o was either duped, or the two worked together, using O’Meara’s likeness together for the sake of publicity.
Obviously, O’Meara herself was shocked.
“Somebody stole her identity,” a relative, Olga Volkov, told The New York Post, via Lost Lettermen. “[O’Meara’s family] found out about it yesterday. They were shocked.”
The 23-year old attended Cal State Long Beach and currently works as a marketing coordinator for STN Media Group. Her life has been turned upside down, through no fault or decision of her own. In fact, this is all a complete, total surprise to her and her family.
Now, it simply remains to be seen whether Te’o was taken totally by surprise as well — or if it’s his fault that Diane O’Meara is now involved in this mess too.