An unwitting California woman found herself at the center of one of the biggest sports stories of the year on Friday after being identified earlier in the week as Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o's fake dead girlfriend.
Friends of Diane O'Meara, a 23-year-old LA-based marketing exec, said her photos were taken from her Facebook page without her permission and used to create the identity of "Lennay Kekua" on social media sites, the New York Post reported.
"Somebody stole her identity," a relative, Olga Volkov, told The Post. "[O'Meara's family] found out about it yesterday. They were shocked."
Volkov said that O'Meara is "a good person" from "a very good family."
Reporters were camped out at O'Meara's workplace on Thursday, but the woman politely declined to speak.
"Right now, I’m not making any comment," she told "Inside Edition." "But thank you."
O’Meara graduated from Cal State Long Beach and currently works as a marketing coordinator at STN Media Group, according to CBS Los Angeles
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a connection of Manti Te'o's,
who reportedly attended the same high school as O'Meara, is believed by many to be the mastermind behind the hoax.
Ever since Deadspin broke the news Wednesday that Te'o's girlfriend, who he claims he believed had died of leukemia, was not real, the media have been uncovering discrepancies in Te'o's story.
For example, Te'o gave conflicting accounts of how he met Kekua, at one point saying they were introduced years ago by a cousin, and another time claiming it was after a Notre Dame-Stanford game. He has since claimed that they never met in person at all.
Also, Te'o's Notre Dame classmates and football teammates speculated that Kekua never existed because they never saw her and Te'o had reportedly been with other women.
O'Meara's lawyers have also refused to comment, according to CBS, but said they are reviewing the case.
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