Hayward police have arrested a Union City woman in connection with the murder of Michelle Le.
Giselle Diwag Esteban, 27, of Union City was booked into Santa Rita Jail on suspicion of murder Wednesday morning, according to court records. She is scheduled for an arraignment at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Esteban was arrested around 10 a.m. as she was leaving her residence at 35530 Monterra Terrace in the Monte Vista community of Union City, said Lt. Roger Keener of the Hayward Police Department during an afternoon press conference on Wednesday.
Le, 26, disappeared more than three months ago during a break from her clinical rotation as part of her curriculum as a nursing student at the Hayward Kaiser hospital on May 27. Police found her car the following morning parked in a nearby neighborhood with blood inside.
Le's body has not yet been located and no motive has yet been determined. The investigation will not end until she is found, police said.
"Make no mistake: Today's arrest does not mark the end of our investigation. We will not consider this investigation complete until Michelle is found," Keener said.
After what Keener called a thorough investigation, Hayward police believe Esteban to be "responsible for Michelle's demise." He noted there is no indication that Esteban was assisted in the case of Le's disappearance.
Hayward police announced numerous sources of what they called compelling evidence that led to Esteban's arrest, including:
- Blood stains belonging to Le inside of Le’s abandoned vehicle.
- Security camera footage from Kaiser that showed Esteban had been in the parking lot before and after Le’s disappearance.
- Physical evidence that indicates Esteban had been inside Le’s vehicle.
- Cell phone records and cell tower activations that show Esteban and Le’s phones “traveled on a similar path” from Kaiser to other Alameda County locations shortly after Le’s disappearance
- A pair of Esteban’s athletic shoes recovered during a search of her home where Le’s DNA was found.
Hayward police has searched Esteban’s home three times since Le’s disappearance. On Wednesday morning, an officer drove away in Esteban’s silver Honda CR-V.
Police initially searched the home on May 29, shortly after Le went missing. Police said Wednesday this is when they retrieved the running shoes where Le’s DNA was found. The home was searched again .
Keener said during the afternoon press conference that Esteban has refused to speak with officers at this time.
Esteban is a former friend of Le's from when the two were high school students in San Diego. She had a , also a friend of Le’s, on May 24, three days before Le went missing from the Hayward Kaiser Permanente medical facility.
The order barred Esteban from coming within 100 feet of her ex-boyfriend, with whom she has a 5-year-old child, or his immediate family.
The ex-boyfriend cited increasingly bizarre behavior by Esteban, including stalking him, threatening to shoot herself and entering his home uninvited.
Esteban has not spoken to media since telling KGO-TV reporters in early June that she “openly hates” Le after the two had a falling out. She also accused Le of ruining her relationship with her child’s father. She has said, however, 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.
Le's family members were also present at the Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Her brother, Michael Le, and her cousin, Krystine Dinh, who wore T-shirts with Michelle's photo emblazoned on them, said they are continuing to maintain hope.
"No one should have to deal with a loved one missing," Michael Le
said. "We just want her home as soon as possible."
He said his 24th birthday is Thursday and that his sister would
always call him on his birthday to say, "I love you." "I just want to hear her voice so badly," he said.
"This isn't over until Michelle's home," Dinh said.
Read the live blog of the Hayward Police department's press conference Wednesday afternoon , and more from Le's family .
Newark Patch editor Nika Megino contributed to this report.