(NEW YORK) — The voice that charmed and tormented star linebacker Manti Te’o, probably belonged to a woman, according to four forensic audio experts consulted by ABC News.
That conclusion comes as the New York Post reported that unnamed relatives of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo – the man Te’o says was behind the hoax – say they believe the voice of Te’o’s fictitious girlfriend Lennay Kekua belonged to a cousin of Ronaiah’s named Tino Tuiasosopo.
Te’o told Katie Couric this week that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo called him on Jan. 16 to confess to masterminding the hoax that led Te’o and the country to believe that his girlfriend died of leukemia while the Notre Dame star was leading his team to the national championship game and he was contending for the Heisman Trophy.
Yet another theory as to the voice behind Lennay Kekua emerged when the New York Daily News reported this week that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s lawyer claimed that Ronaiah himself faked Kekua’s voice in almost daily calls — some of them lasting for hours — over a nine month period.
Te’o told Couric he doubted the voice belonged to a man and said he has never found out who pretended to be Kekua. He also released three voice mails that his “girlfriend” left for him.
In one of the voicemails that Te’o released on Thursday, the voice he thought was Kekua can be heard saying sweetly, “Hey babe, I’m just calling to say goodnight. I love you.”
In another voicemail, Kekua lashed out jealously, claiming a woman answered Te’o’s phone when she called him.
“I don’t know who answered your phone. I don’t care,” she said through tears. “This is my last time trying. You made it clear what you want. Take care.”
ABC News took the voicemails to four audio experts who all said they believed the voice was a woman.
Forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg told ABC News, “It’s the pitch, it’s the frequency range, it’s the intonation. I don’t believe that a male could simulate that.”
When asked if he thought the voice of the “love of his life” could be a man, Te’o told Couric, “Well, it didn’t sound like a man. It sounded like a woman. If he [Ronaiah Tuiasosopo] somehow made that voice, that’s incredible. That’s an incredible talent to do that, especially every single day.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Betsy Klein, CNN
Jon Ostrower and Rene Marsh, CNN
Ashley Strickland, CNN
Ariane de Vogue, Mary Kay Mallonee and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN