Although some are questioning Manti Te'o's role in the hoax over his girlfriend's existence, the residents of Teo's hometown of Laie are standing behind him:
LAIE, Hawaii -- People in the small Hawaii hometown of Manti Te'o are offering support for the Notre Dame linebacker, after the story of his girlfriend and her death from leukemia were revealed as a hoax.
No one answered the door Wednesday evening and no one appeared to be inside the modest, single-story wood home of Te'o's parents, Brian and Ottilia Te'o, in the small coastal town of Laie on Oahu's northern shore where Manti Te'o, an All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist, was born.
But members of the mostly Mormon community said they were dumbfounded, and didn't believe he would have knowingly perpetrated such a story. The town of about 6,000 people, roughly an hour's drive from Honolulu, is home to a small Hawaii satellite campus of Brigham Young University.
Lokelani Kaiahua, 42, said Te'o's parents were her classmates, and she knew them to have strong family values they instilled in their children.
"I just don't see something like that being made up from him or having any part of that because they're not those kind of people," she said while sitting and talking with friends a few doors down from the Te'o family home. "Everybody's kind of like, 'what is going on?' "
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A former teammate of Te'o's claims that players knew that the woman wasn't really his girlfriend even though Te'o played that up as his tragic story was being told.
A fundraiser who launched a campaign to raise money for a cancer research group in memory of linebacker Manti Te'o's girlfriend says he is "shell-shocked" to learn the woman didn't exist.