Body Found Saturday is Missing Nursing Student Michelle Le

Michelle Le, 26, of San Mateo, went missing May 27 from Kaiser Hospital in Hayward.

Hayward, Calif. -- Hayward police have announced that the human remains discovered Saturday near Pleasanton are those of nursing student Michelle Le, who went missing almost four months ago.

The Alameda County Coroner’s Office made the announcement late Monday night, almost 60 hours after during a search organized by Le’s family.

Based on evidence found in Hayward, where she was last seen, it's believed she was slain, but the exact cause of death is still under investigation, Hayward police said.

Le’s family issued a press release shortly after the announcement, asking for "privacy and respect during this difficult time."

Krystine Dinh, Le's cousin, said, "The family is grieving and preparing a memorial service for Le — a proper goodbye."

Since Le’s disappearance, her family has remained hopeful and has kept Le's story in the media spotlight, holding, public events and .

The story has made national headlines and compelled strangers to volunteer their time to help locate her.

According to a report on KTVU, the volunteer who found the remains during Saturday's search was Carrie McGonigle, the mother of Amber Du Bois, a 14-year-old San Diego area girl who was missing for a year before her remains were found in a remote area. She had been kidnapped and murdered.

"Thank you for your support and thoughts. Our family has greatly appreciated, and would be at a loss, without the help of so many people and volunteers," Dinh said Monday night.

Le, 26, a San Mateo resident who grew up in San Diego, was last seen May 27 at Kaiser Hospital in Hayward. She was at the hospital taking a class as part of a nursing course she was enrolled in at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland.

She told classmates she was planning to drive to Reno after class. She left during a break and didn't return, according to police.

Police found her car parked a few blocks from the hospital the next day with blood stains that were later determined to be from Le.

Earlier this month Hayward police arrested and charged a Union City woman with Le’s murder.

Giselle Esteban, 27, who has been a person of interest since Le’s disappearance, was . After her arrest, police revealed that a pair of athletic shoes taken in a May 29 search of her apartment contained Le's DNA.

Police said footage from security cameras at the Kaiser Permanente parking structure showed that Esteban, who is now seven months pregnant, was there around the time of Le's disappearance.

Additionally, evidence found inside Le's car indicated that Esteban had been inside the vehicle, investigators said.

Police also said cell phone records from Le and Esteban show their phones traveled along the same path, leaving the area just after Le's disappearance.

Esteban was originally scheduled to enter a plea Monday morning but that was postponed because she has not yet finalized who her lawyer will be.

Though no motive has been determined, Esteban told KGO-TV reporters shortly after Le went missing that she openly hated Le after the two had a falling out some years ago. She also accused Le of ruining her relationship with her child’s father. However, Esteban said she had nothing to do with Le's disappearance.

Esteban’s ex-boyfriend told Patch in a previous interview that he and Le have been close friends for nine years and that Esteban’s accusations are untrue.

The ex-boyfriend three days before Le went missing, citing increasingly bizarre behavior that included stalking him, threatening to shoot herself and entering his home uninvited.

Esteban is scheduled to appear in court at the Hayward Hall of Justice at 9 a.m. on Sept. 28.

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heidi September 20, 2011 at 06:41 PM
This is a senesless killing. I hope they find who did it, whomever was resposbile and give them a lethal injection, they have no right to live after talking this beautiful womans young life away from her.
Geoff Burton September 20, 2011 at 06:42 PM
Yes there are that many crazy individuals out their living sick little lives and sometimes those broken people have families thus perpetuating the problem, not to mention that some people are just born damaged. How is a complicated question and answering it would take too long and be incomplete at best.
Jeramiah Johnson September 20, 2011 at 06:43 PM
To paraphrase a line from the Planet of the Ape series. Apes don't kill apes, humans do kill homans.
Brittany September 20, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Wow, you must live in lollypop land, because last time I checked, murder was a universal thing. America may not be top rated crime wise, but our law is a lot more advanced then some of the places I've seen.
Jeff September 20, 2011 at 06:44 PM
glad they found the body. now they have estaban by the tits and she'll be in prison for good. i hope the evil pig is beaten hard every day she's in there.
Caron Shapiro September 20, 2011 at 06:47 PM
I am comforted by the fact that this was an acquaintance killing and that the Bay Area appears to still be safe for nursing students taking evening classes.
Geoff Burton September 20, 2011 at 06:51 PM
To drag a body 15 feet in grass and brush it only takes adrenaline
Jeramiah Johnson September 20, 2011 at 06:52 PM
The problem is that exonerating evidence sometimes doesn't turn up for years. For example, new ways to test and match minute samples of DNA that wrern't available 5-10-15-20 years ago.
Val September 20, 2011 at 06:53 PM
My sincere sympathy for Michelle Le's family. In regards to the mention of women carrying a can of pepper spray with them, how about keeping a can of wasp spray under the seat of your car. It sprays much further, is very accurate, and give the victim more time to get away.
Jeramiah Johnson September 20, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Supposidly serious crime is down in the US. What makes it seem like there is more crime today is the internet. Before the internet if there was a murder on the west coast, there might only be a short article in the newspapers, possibly no mention at all, in east coast papers. Today, virtually everycrime is blasted all over the internet.
Jeramiah Johnson September 20, 2011 at 07:03 PM
The accused would have only been 3 months pregnant at the of the murder and what makes you think the she is tiny?
Geoff Burton September 20, 2011 at 07:13 PM
We are not going to stop killing each other any time soon unfortunately, so pass the bananas.
Geoff Burton September 20, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Ed Stegall September 20, 2011 at 07:23 PM
My condolences to the family and to those who will not be able to benefit from Michelle Le’s medical training. There are many interesting points of view in the comments. Let’s not forget that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. I am also impressed that cell phone records are playing such a major role in this case.
Zinn September 20, 2011 at 07:32 PM
All the more reason if you are ever in a situation where someone is attempting to abduct you, even at gunpoint in a public setting, fight the abduction to your last breath. The closer you get into an isolated situation the higher probability of a very bad outcome. Question; has it been revealed yet who is the father of the accused, Giselle Estaban's unborn child?
Geoff Burton September 20, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Thanks, I usually chime in with innocent till proven guilty, but I even find myself getting caught up in the lynch mob fervor. I hope it is Estaban otherwise the real killer is still on the lose. I really think it's her .
Mary September 20, 2011 at 07:56 PM
This is tragic, sad and so unneccesary.. My heart goes out to the family. I mourn for you.
Zinn September 20, 2011 at 08:05 PM
Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law yes. But it is fair to speculate. IMO Estaban acted alone and she is the murderer. The cell phone record, the DNA found on her shoes. Her being identified at Kaiser at the time Le disappeared, her hate for Le stealing her lover, although we hear the boyfriend claim the relationship between him and Le was totally platonic, is all pretty damming evidence. She had the motive, she is identified at the location and physical evidence links her to Le at the time she disappeared. The reason I state she acted alone is I think it would be highly unlikely to find a partner in crime for such an emotionally driven, insane like act.
Geoff Burton September 20, 2011 at 08:53 PM
I agree. I am sure that it didn't matter that the relationship was platonic, the freak job either thought it was more or that the victim caused the breakup and that was all the reason this nut job needed.
Susan Norman September 20, 2011 at 09:16 PM
My deepest condolences to Michelle's family and friends. After living through this horrific ordeal, may you find some peace and closure. My heart goes out to you today.
Cornell Davis September 20, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Their is so much hatred in this world. This young woman died for know reason, other then a very sick person hated her, because of her relationship with her boyfriend, who she had known for nine years. What a jacka$$. This young lady had so much promise. I hope their seek the death penalty for this young lady.
William September 20, 2011 at 11:41 PM
This is something the family will never get over , They will learn to live with it but life will never be the same! They will find some kind of peace just having her home and knowing no one can ever hurt her again! My heart goes out to these people in this dark time of their lives and pray for them to have some peace!
Dublin Mom September 21, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Val, my brother told me about that years ago when I wanted to get mace training! You have to be certified to carry mace, but wasp spray is available to everyone.
Maria Pereira September 21, 2011 at 12:31 AM
The Skeptic, your comments could not have been more appropriate, thanks
Maria Pereira September 21, 2011 at 12:45 AM
How sad so many lives lost, a young woman with a great career ahead, a mother to be who will be in jail, an yet unborn child who will face an uncertain future without a mother.
SMRTNUP September 21, 2011 at 04:48 AM
We all have emotions ! . . Some moreso than others ! . . Some are unable to check their emotions and tempers quickly so as to restrain ones actions while in a state of anger or emotional upheaval ! . . . If you already know that you are a person with a hot temper or emotions that take you over at times of stress now is the time to do something to learn to control yourself during times of stress and anger ! . . Don't wait until you've made a big mistake that can't be un-done or corrected and your life is in ruins and when regret is all that's left to do ! . . . Just a thought ! . . . Jealousy is another human trait that should be brought under control ! . . . Your own life is too important to waste because of a lack of self control. . . . Just think about it ! . . .
min September 22, 2011 at 10:47 PM
I didn't know Michelle but her story made me cry. As I followed her story I found pictures of her and her families, about how she lost her mother at a young age from cancer and that she wanted to follow her mother footsteps, to be a nurse. Michelle is 6 mos away from graduating and her dreams would have been fulfilled. Reading the family and friends blog, one feels the overpowering love and affection to Michelle. Looking through pictures of Michelle with her beautiful smiles, you see a good person, caring and sensitive young woman so full of life and dreams, but that was taken so abruptly with this heinous crime. As I write this with tears and heavy heart, I realize that Michelle is now in a better place. I am so sorry Michelle that your time with us wasn't long enough, I am so sorry for not being able to be there when you needed us the most. Forgive us. Peace be with you, my angel. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - On angel wings you do fly On angel wings into the sky On angel wings i do cry Because those angel wings took you away On angel wings the heralds sing Is there no such lovely thing? On angel wings you fly away. I will see these angel wings again someday When i am old and my time has come On angel wings I will fly Until I'm holding you once again Smiling on angel wings - by Troy Nichols
Nicole Riggle October 03, 2011 at 05:10 PM
You say that with the assumption that everyone convicted of a crime is actually guilty - if you look back there have been so many proven innocent after conviction, sometimes years later. We cannot know how many of those executed were actually innocent, since the file is closed. While you cannot give back 20 years of someone's life , you CERTAINLY cannot give back someone's life the state has taken. This is the reason there are so many appeals allowed. Furthermore, there are plenty of reasons besides new evidence to appeal a case - police misconduct, jury manipulation, corrupt judge, etc., etc. When someone is actually guilty and is just trying to drag out the process then we can criticize this system and call it broken - but when someone who is innocent of the crime is saved from death then we see why it is this way. Rushing the convicted to the chair makes the state (and therefore all of us) a murderer.
Audrey August 10, 2013 at 10:40 PM
I have not heard anyone say if the x-boyfriend is the babies father? We know by the evidence we have that Michelle was stocked, so it is premeditated murder. The boyfriend saved himself but did protect Michelle by telling her to get a restraining order also. No a piece of paper doesn't stop the attacker but it makes the victim more aware to watch out for the attacker and not let them get close if it is possible! Innocent until proven guilty sounds good But.. She will probably be found not sane enough to stand trail, but sane enough to have her baby with her. Spend a few years in a hospital environment then be set free because she is found to be sane at that time. No one in this persons family saw this type of behavior coming or tried to get this person help before it got this bad? How long were they boyfriend and girlfriend together? Was the boyfriend an enabler, in this angry girls life? There are people who just know how to work the system , They get out of jail to turn around and do the same thing again. The system isn't perfect but it is the best one out there! There are just some things that should be changed. A murder with intent should never be set free until a conviction is changed. If it is proved later that they are innocent, then let them out. Until then keep them away from anyone they could hurt. The same should be true for Child molesters, there is no cure for a pedophile, so don't let them out ever again either.
Geoff Burton August 11, 2013 at 10:58 AM
Audrey Esteban was given 25 years to life in prison


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