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Te'o hoax takes another odd turn

Another twist was added to the Manti Te'o hoax in which the Notre Dame All-American linebacker was led to believe he had a relationship with a fictitious woman.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser posted a story on its website Friday, saying a source close to the Te'o family told the paper that the woman, whose voice Te'o associated with Lennay Kekua, told the linebacker she had to fake her death to elude drug dealers.

The bizarre story of the Irish star being tricked into believing he had a relationship with a fake woman, who died in September, came to light when reported the hoax Wednesday.

In the Star-Advertiser story, the source said Te'o asked the woman to send him a picture of herself with a date stamp as she tried to restart the relationship she had with him.

The paper said a date was not given for when Te'o received the phone call from the woman claiming to be Kekua.

On Wednesday, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Te'o received a call from a woman claiming to be Kekua when the linebacker was at the ESPN award show Dec. 6. Te'o notified the school of what was happening Dec. 26, and Notre Dame said an independent investigator revealed that Te'o was the victim of a hoax.

Te'o has yet to publicly address the incident, but did release a statement Wednesday saying he was the victim of a cruel joke.

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.