Actually, That Was a Woman Talking to Te'o

Tuiasosopo family recognizes voice of cousin Tino

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 25, 2013 10:47 AM CST

(Newser) – Surprised at how womanly the voice of Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend sounded? Well, that's because it actually was a woman doing the talking, the New York Post reports. Earlier reports pinned the phone calls on Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, but now multiple members of the Tuiasosopo family tell the Post it's actually Ronaiah's female cousin, Tino, heard in the recordings. "Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months," says another cousin. "There is no doubt whatsoever that it's Tino." No word, however, on Tino's motives. "How many people were being hoaxed here and who was hoaxing whom?" writes Richard Lawson on the Atlantic Wire.

It seems Tino, who is in her mid-20s and lives in American Samoa, got involved in the Te'o hoax after another long-distance relationship ended in 2011. There are "extraordinary similarities" between that romance and her fake romance with Te'o, one source says. After the first relationship ended, Tino "said it was OK, because she was doing better. She said she was talking to another person [and] he plays football for Notre Dame—number 5, Manti," a source says. No word from Ronaiah's attorney, but one relative thinks the lawyer said that his client made the calls because Ronaiah "is determined to take the rap."

In this Aug. 16, 2012, file photo, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o answers a question during NCAA college football media day in South Bend, Ind.   (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)
In a photo provided by ESPN, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o pauses during an interview with ESPN on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla.   (AP Photo/ESPN Images, Ryan Jones)
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