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Timeline: How the Manti Te'o story unfolded

By Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 7:36 AM EST, Thu January 17, 2013

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(CNN) -- In four short months, Manti Te'o has ridden an emotional roller coaster that took its first deep dive with the death of his grandmother followed hours later by the ostensible passing of a girlfriend, who seems never to have existed.

It peaked with him finishing as runner-up for the Heisman Trophy then hit a new low with the revelation that the girlfriend was an apparent "catfish," an Internet hoax. Te'o's story broke, making his embarrassment complete.

September 13: Te'o tweets, "I may not hear your voice anymore but I do feel your presence!"

Followers reply with tweets of condolences after "girlfriend" Lennay Kekua's apparent death.

September 16: Te'o tweets, "I know you're there" with a picture of him pointing to the sky.

September 23: Te'o tweets a link to a picture of two beams of light descending on him during the Michigan game and writes: This brought tears to my eyes! The two beams of light! My guardian angels!!! I miss you!!

Notre Dame: Te'o caught in 'Catfish' scam

December 6: Te'o receives a phone call while at an awards show from the phone number of his dead girlfriend. The woman says she's not dead.

December 8: Te'o goes to the Heisman Trophy presentation in New York, where he finishes as runner-up to Johnny Manziel.

Before December 25: A person using that number continues to call, but Te'o does not answer.

Christmas break: Te'o discusses the situation with his parents.

December 26: Te'o calls Head Coach Brian Kelly and Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco and informs them of the situation.

December 27: Te'o meets with athletics director Jack Swarbrick and they discuss the situation.

After December 27: The University hires a nationally known investigative firm to look into the matter.

January 4: The private investigators give Notre Dame their report.

January 5: Swarbrick meets with the Te'o's family.

January 7: Te'o plays in the national championship game.

January 16: Deadspin publishes a story saying Te'o's story about the death of a girlfriend is a hoax.

Notre Dame says Te'o has been the victim of an "elaborate hoax" and a "sick joke."

Part of complete coverage on
Manti Te'o hoax
updated 3:25 PM EST, Thu January 24, 2013
Manti Te'o has again admitted to lying, marking at least the second time he has acknowledged knowingly spreading falsities in the saga of his fake dead girlfriend.
updated 11:47 AM EST, Sun January 20, 2013
The Notre Dame linebacker told ESPN that he wasn't part of the hoax involving a deceased girlfriend.
updated 11:28 AM EST, Fri January 18, 2013
This may be the strangest twist in a tale overflowing with strangeness. Manti Te'o's deceased girlfriend tweeted late Wednesday night.
updated 9:46 AM EST, Fri January 18, 2013
Te'o is now a meme -- posting pictures of yourself with your arm around an imaginary girlfriend. They call it "Te'oing."
updated 10:44 AM EST, Fri January 18, 2013
Manti Te'o's Twitter bio reads: "Life is a storm.. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes." The storm has arrived.
updated 11:04 AM EST, Fri January 18, 2013
Oh, the stories we storytellers tell. Like the story of brave Manti Te'o and his doomed girlfriend. We love a good story. We love spinning a good yarn.
updated 9:46 AM EST, Fri January 18, 2013
Was Manti Te'o a hapless victim or a duplicitous co-conspirator?
updated 9:52 AM EST, Fri January 18, 2013
I wouldn't normally pay much attention to a sports star, even a Fighting Irish hero.
updated 7:36 AM EST, Thu January 17, 2013
Here are some of the recent events in the bizarre story of Manti Te'o and a dead girlfriend who apparently never existed:
updated 8:50 AM EST, Thu January 17, 2013
After word broke of a hoax about the death of star Manti Te'o's "girlfriend," it didn't take long for "Te'o" to become the top-trending term on Twitter.
updated 7:52 AM EST, Thu January 17, 2013
As the big game with No. 10 Michigan State approached, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o had a heavy heart after he learned his girlfriend had lost her fight with leukemia.
updated 10:17 AM EST, Thu January 17, 2013
A dog tapping away at a computer keyboard turns to another dog and says, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."
updated 4:40 AM EST, Thu January 17, 2013
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick compared the alleged hoax about a "girlfriend" that ensnared linebacker Manti Te'o with the documentary "Catfish."
updated 11:22 PM EST, Wed January 16, 2013
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o said he was the victim of a "sick joke" that had him and legions of fans believing in a "girlfriend" who may never have existed.