Despite a police announcement that they have evidence that missing San Mateo resident Michelle Le 11 days ago inside a Hayward Kaiser hospital parking lot, family members are not giving up hope.
“Our family continues to maintain hope and faith in her return. Until the Hayward Police Department can offer conclusive and definite proof, we will continue to believe she is alive and needs to be rescued,” the family said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
Le’s close relatives, accompanied by child safety advocate Marc Klaas, gathered at noon at the Hayward police station to make the announcement.
“There’s still a lot more work to do,” said Le’s father, Son, at the press conference. “We ask that all continue to help us and search for Michelle. Please pray for her.”
On Monday, police said compelling evidence recovered during the investigation "points conclusively to homicide" and that the search has become "an effort of recovery."
"We realize this is the worst possible news for Michelle's family and friends, and for everyone involved in looking for her," Capt. Darryl McAllister of the Hayward PD said in a statement Monday night.
However, relatives said they have not received any proof or seen any of the evidence.
“If you call something a murder, you have to have a body,” Son Le said. “We don’t have definite proof.”
During Tuesday’s press conference, Le’s family was accompanied by child safety advocate Marc Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter, Polly, was abducted and murdered in 1993. (Click here to read about his foundation.)
“[The family’s] goal is to recover Michelle alive. Their goal is different from that of the police,” said Klaas, who often works with families of missing children to support them. “The family’s supposed to fold its tent and go home? I don’t think this is the kind of family to do that.”
Le’s family is continuing its efforts to find Le. The family will hold a second candlelight vigil on Thursday and has scheduled a meeting for those willing to distribute fliers for Sunday, June 12. The times and locations will be announced on the family’s official website for Le — www.michellelemissing.com.
Le was last seen on May 27 at 7 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center's facility at 27303 Sleepy Hollow Ave., Hayward.
She was supposed to meet a friend and drive to Reno after finishing her rotation at the medical facility. She left during a break and did not return, according to Hayward police.
Police believe Le was killed based on forensic evidence collected from Le's car and from the Kaiser hospital parking structure where it was parked; information collected during interviews; examination of evidence gathered via search warrants; review of video footage from the garage and other locations; and examination of Le's cellphone records, police said.
According to media reports, police believe Le was killed in the hospital parking garage by someone who is "not a stranger."
As of Monday, more than 25 people have been questioned regarding the case, police said. No one has been charged with Le's murder.
On Monday evening, Hayward police who was previously questioned as a "person of interest" in the case. The department did not release any other information on the search.
The person of interest, whom Patch is not identifying because she has not been arrested, is a former friend of Le's who had been quoted as saying she "hated" Le. The woman was initially questioned on Memorial Day weekend.
“We don’t want to jump to conclusions,” Michael Le said about the Union City woman.
Le’s brother, Michael, reiterated the during the press conference, stating that they did not receive an update about the case until Monday night when police made the public statement.
“We’re not holding anything (information) back because we haven’t been given anything,” Michael Le said.
Hayward police are not granting interviews to the media at this time, a member of the investigations unit said Monday.
A reward of $65,000 for information leading to Le’s return remains standing, thanks to pledges from Samuel Merritt University, where she was in a nursing program, and her workplace, Turner Construction Company, where Le has worked part-time as an accounting clerk for five years.
Family members urge that the public continue to support them in their search for Le’s safe return.
“If there’s a small chance that she’s alive, we’re going to hold on to that,” Michael Le said. “We’re not giving up hope.”
Michelle Le is described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall with black hair and brown eyes. The Hayward Police Department has set up a tip line for anyone with information that could help with the case; that number is 510-293-5051.