Case of missing nursing student now a homicide

missing nursing student Michelle Le
June 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Family and friends of Michelle Le receive the worst possible news as police announce the search for her has turned into a murder investigation. This comes as officers collect new evidence at the home of a former friend in Union City. Le disappeared from Kaiser Hospital in Hayward on May 27. Monday night, Hayward investigators revealed they are now searching for her body.

For the family, this has been a very difficult day. Le's father, Son Le, said, "We'll have a statement tomorrow. I thank you for all of your support though, thank you."

After breaking the sad news to Le's family members Capt. Darryl McAllister told reporters police will now investigate her disappearance as a homicide.

"We realize that this is the worst possible news that Michelle's family and friends and everyone who has been looking for her, would want to hear," said McAllister.

Police believe Le was murdered in the Kaiser Hospital garage where her car was parked two weeks ago Friday. They also say it was not a random attack, that the killer targeted her. Le was making her rounds Friday night at the hospital where she was enrolled in a mentoring program. The 26-year-old student nurse told a colleague she was going to her car in the garage to pick up some things. Then she vanished. Her Honda was later found on this street half a mile away.

Police say there is compelling evidence which leads to a homicide.

"Forensics examination of Michelle's car, in the area of the parking structure where it was parked, information gleaned from multiple interviews, including those with friends, family and of persons of interest," said McAllister.

As police were holding the briefing, investigators were again searching the apartment of one person of interest -- Giselle Esteban, a former close friend of Le's. They brought out more evidence and then sealed the apartment. Police first searched her place the day after Le's disappearance.

They arrested Esteban and interrogated her at the station, then released her. Esteban told ABC7 she quote "openly hates Michelle" for stealing her former husband, but said she's innocent of anything associated with the disappearance.

Monday night, neighbors told ABC7 she moved out, saying she was going to her parent's home in San Diego.

Neighbor Raviv Strod had a brief conversation with her. She said, "She said she was four months pregnant and she said that she didn't have anything to do with Michelle anymore."

Police say they are focusing the search for Le's body in the rural areas of the East Bay. The reward is now up to $65,000.


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