Donna Te'i herself met Ronaiah Tuiasosopo -- the Samoan-American, like her, who Mantei Te'o said created the hoax -- years ago through an acquaintance, and they came into contact again following the August death of her boyfriend, former University of Southern California football standout Fred Matua. Mutua was eulogized by Ronaiah's father, the Rev. Titus Tuiasosopo, according to Luteru Lou Te'i, who lives with his daughter in Carson, California.
At some point, pictures of Donna Te'i became part of the scheme. Luteru Lou Te'i, 51, said his daughter believes Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was responsible, since he called her later to apologize for using her image.
"I ... don't know what his motive was, but (Tuiasosopo) admitted to her that he did it," said Luteru Lou Te'i, noting this conversation happened "way before the story broke."
Donna Te'i has been "distraught" since Deadspin first ran with the story, according to her father.
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and his family have not responded to CNN requests for comment on this and other allegations tied to the hoax.