An important pillar of Manti Te'o's story with regards to the hoax of the century is that he found out Lennay Kekua wasn't dead during ESPN's Home Depot College Football Awards show in Orlando. Here's the quote from Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick's press conference Wednesday night that alludes to when Te'o first found out what was happening.
"On the morning of December 26th, very early morning, Manti called his coaches to inform them that, while he was in attendance at the ESPN awards show in Orlando, he received a phone call from a number he recognized as having been that he associated with Lennay Kekua. When he answered it, it was a person whose voice sounded like the same voice he had talked to, who told him that she was, in fact, not dead.
Manti was very unnerved by that, as you might imagine. I will let him again talk about that and his reaction to it. But he maintained that secret vis a vis the members of the football family until he called the coaches on the morning of the 26th. They promptly reached out to me to inform me of this shocking piece of news, and I arranged to meet Manti upon his return to campus and did so on the afternoon of the 27th."
That awards show in Orlando took place December 6th. Two days later, Te'o was in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation, also televised on ESPN December 8th. That night, Te'o was interviewed on stage during the hour long show by Chris Fowler. In a transcript from that Heisman interview, it reveals Te'o voluntarily talking about his girlfriend passing away after he supposedly found out about the hoax. In fact, he told Chris Fowler the moment he found out about his girlfriend's passing was the one moment he would never forget during the season.