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When star college footballer Manti Te'o received a phone call from his "dead girlfriend", he knew something was desperately wrong.
"He became startled, shocked," said Jack Swarbrick, director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame, of the baffling saga surrounding the golden child of college football who claims to have been the victim of a gobsmacking and cruel online hoax.
Te'o claims that someone using the fictitious online name of Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with him and then conspired with others to lead him to believe that she had tragically died of cancer.