Michelle Le's family asks for volunteers to search

June 17, 2011 12:50:59 AM PDT
It's now been three weeks since a young nursing student disappeared. Michelle Le's family and friends say they're organizing a large-scale search and they're encouraging people to volunteer. Her extended family has traveled here to help.

Le's family is launching a three-day search that starts on Friday at 8 a.m. and they say they have a lot of ground to cover.

Family members stood in front of the Hayward Police Department with a plea to the public -- help them find Le.

"Our family's goal is to reach out to the public help and support to locate and finally bring Michelle home to us," said Krystine Dinh, Le's cousin.

Le disappeared three weeks ago. She was last seen just before her break at Kaiser Hospital in Hayward. Police say they have questioned as many as 25 people, but they have yet to make an arrest in what they now believe is a murder case. Le's family, however, is still hoping to find her alive.

"If it was your daughter and your sister, or your cousin, your friend, you wouldn't give up hope until she was found," said Michael Le, Le's brother.

Le's family is asking for volunteers to help search areas of the East Bay from Friday to Sunday. Investigators already searched Niles and Palomares canyons in Southern Alameda County last week, but found nothing. Police say the areas they want covered are specific spots based on the evidence collected so far, including Le's cell phone records.

"From our interviews, our phone forensics, the FBI, as well as an independent contractor, as well as our own personnel in house, have all come up with ideas of what the phone forensics mean and we're following up with that," said Hayward Police Lt. Roger Keener.

Le's extended family from San Diego has come up to the Bay Area to help with the search. Experts with the Klaas Kids Foundation will also be on hand to train the volunteers expected to show up.

"We're staying positive and optimistic and like we say every day, it's not over until it's over," said Dinh.

Volunteers are being asked to check in between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 25350 Cypress Avenue, which is a Buddhist church in Hayward. People who want to help out must be at least 18 years old and present a valid I.D. Volunteers must also wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants and closed-toe shoes.

To protect the integrity of the search areas, the exact locations won't be disclosed ahead of time.

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