Police: Blood evidence points to murder in Le case

Michelle Le
June 7, 2011 4:50:11 PM PDT
The family of a missing nursing student is refusing to accept the police department's belief that she is dead. Michelle Le's family pleaded with the community Tuesday to keep looking for her, even though Hayward police say this missing persons case is now a homicide.

Though police have released very few details in the case to the family or the public, they did share Tuesday some new information about why they feel Le was the victim of murder.

"We ask that you all please continue to help us search for Michelle's return," said the missing nursing student's father, Sun Le, during Tuesday's press conference. He still holds out hope that his daughter is alive, even if the police now believe she was the victim of murder. "Even though Hayward Police Department has given up on finding Michelle alive, our family and friends continue to maintain hope and faith in her return."

"If we were in that position, we'd probably be feeling the same," said Sgt. Steve Brown. "However, for the continuity of the case, the sanctity of the case, there's only certain things that we can release."

Monday night police searched for a second time the home of Le's former friend, Giselle Esteban, who told ABC7 News the two women were involved in a dispute over Esteban's boyfreind. Investigators continue to say that Esteban is just one of 25 persons of interest in the case.

Police say a combination of factors led them to believe Le was killed, even though they have yet to find her body. They include blood evidence found in Le's car, cell phone records and video surveillance from the Kaiser Hospital garage where she disappeared, which has images of cars besides Le's that may play a role in the case.

"I could say that there was possibly witness cars and/or another suspect car," said Brown. "But that's all I can say."

Le's family says police have not shared enough specifics about the case for them to give up hope.

"Because the police, who have shared very little information with them to this point, have said that it's no longer a missing persons case, that it's now a homicide investigation, the family is supposed to fold its tent and go home?" said family supporter Marc Klaas. "I don't think that this is how this family works."

"The classification has changed, but our outlook and our faith and our desire to find Michelle has not," said Michelle Le's brother, Michael. "We're just going to keep trying to find her."

The Le family wants everyone to know that the reward in the case is now up to $65,000 for information leading to her safe return.

Police do believe at this point they are looking for a body. They are still pouring through their evidence and doing interviews to determine exactly where to search. They believe she is in a remote area somewhere in the East Bay. As for a suspect, they are open to the possibility there is more than one person involved, and they remain hopeful that they will make an arrest soon.

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