Le murder suspect makes first court appearance

September 9, 2011 7:52:43 PM PDT
The pregnant young woman accused of killing her former high school friend made her first court appearance on Friday. Giselle Esteban is facing murder charges for the death of nursing student Michelle Le, missing since the end of May. Her body has still not been found.

This arraignment was supposed to happen on Thursday, but was delayed a day because Esteban needed some medical attention, related to the fact she is expecting her second child.

A visibly pregnant Esteban made her first court appearance dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit and was charged with the murder of Michelle Le.

"She did miss yesterday. She was seen by our own medical staff at the jail and that medical staff determined that she needed to see somebody outside of the jail for a routine appointment. It was a non-emergency. That decision was made by our medical people and so that is why she missed court yesterday," said Sgt. J.D. Nelson from the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

The 26-year-old Le disappeared May 27th from the parking garage of Kaiser Hospital in Hayward. Le's car was found the next day in a residential neighborhood.

Esteban's home was searched and the single mother was briefly arrested and let go the next day.

On Wednesday, police announced they had arrested Esteban for Le's murder, based on the following factors: surveillance video showing Esteban in the parking garage, blood stains in Le's car, evidence Esteban had been inside Le's car, cellphone records showing the two women's phones traveled to the same remote area near Niles Canyon, and a pair of Esteban's tennis shoes with Le's DNA on them.

Also in court was Scott Marasigan, Esteban's former boyfriend and the man the two women may have had a dispute over.

Despite an exhaustive search of the hills around Niles and Sunol, Le's body has yet to be found.

"Our focus is still to bring her home. We can't push that point any further. It's our number one...we still want her back," said Krystine Dinh, Le's cousin.

"We just want to focus on bringing Michelle home. We don't want to talk too much about the case. We just want to find Michelle and we're going to continue to search for her," said Michael Le, Le's brother.

Esteban appeared Friday without an attorney. She indicated to the judge that she may need the court to appoint one for her. Her arraignment will be continued until Monday morning and at that time, she may enter a plea.


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