Sunday, January 20, 2013
Fortuna: Te'o's friend says call happened
By ESPN.com staff
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A day after Manti Te'o spoke publicly for the first time since it was revealed the story of whom he considered his dead girlfriend was a hoax, a friend of the former Notre Dame linebacker came to his defense, recalling a scene from this past spring that appears to validate the purported April 28 car accident in which Te'o was told "Lennay Kekua" was involved.
John Pepelnjak, a junior political science and computer applications major at Notre Dame, told ESPN.com that he was playing video games with Te'o one night this past spring in Te'o's Dillon Hall dorm room when Te'o received an anticipated phone call from multiple males that Te'o believed to be the brothers of Kekua.
"As a close friend of Manti's, I feel obliged to tell a story about a situation that I had witnessed in which his feelings for Lennay were made very real," Pepelnjak said in a statement. "Back in late April or early May, I want to say within the first couple days following the supposed car crash, I can testify with 100 percent certainty that he spoke on the phone with Lennay's 'brothers' and that he did not create this hoax. Manti and I were playing video games in his room, and he received a phone call that he had been anxiously awaiting. Manti desperately wanted to understand what had happened and what kind of condition she was in."