Having trouble keeping track of all the characters in the Manti Te’o girlfriend conspiracy story?
You’re not alone.
The story was unraveled by Deadspin, but it might as well have been the work of Homeland‘s Carrie Matheson after a sleepless night pacing alongside a bulletin board covered in grainy surveillance photographs and string.
At the center of it all is “Lennay Kekua,” the woman who courted the Notre Dame linebacker over Twitter, nabbed the Sports Illustrated coverboy as a boyfriend, then tragically died of leukemia on the eve of the big game — and who was later revealed to be nothing more than an elaborate online ruse.
That face — the “most beautiful I’d ever seen,” as Te’o once described it — has now been tracked down to a woman living in Torrance, Calif.
Multiple news outlets now identify the woman as Diane O’Meara, a 23-year-old marketing coordinator from Torrance, a coastal suburb of Los Angeles.
KCAL cameras confronted O’Meara at her workplace to ask her about how she feels about her image being used as Kekua in one of the most sensational cases of identity theft in history. She refers the reporter to her lawyers.
Thought to be the woman identified in the Deadspin exposé as Reba, O’Meara is a former high school classmate of Ronaian Tuiasosopo, the suspected mastermind of the hoax. Tuiasosopo — who, to make matters weirder, used a manipulative “sob story” to score an audition on NBC’s The Voice — has allegedly confessed his guilt to a friend, ESPN reports.
“[Ronaian] told me that Manti was not involved at all, he was a victim,” the anonymous source told ESPN. “The girlfriend was a lie, the accident was a lie, the leukemia was a lie … He was crying, he was literally crying, he’s like ‘I know, I know what I have to do.'”