Family, friends plan vigil for Michelle Le


The vigil will mark the four-month anniversary of her disappearance from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward, Samuel Merritt spokeswoman Elizabeth Valente said.

Le, 26, who graduated from San Francisco State University, was in an accelerated one-year nursing program at Samuel Merritt and was scheduled to graduate in December, Valente said. Le had waited five years to get into the program, she said.

Valente said she expects the vigil to be well-attended because it will be a chance for Le's family members and friends as well as the general public, classmates and faculty at Samuel Merritt "to say goodbye to her."

A private memorial will be held for Le at a later date, her cousin, Krystine Dinh, said today.

In a statement announcing Tuesday's event, Dinh said, "On behalf of our family, this vigil is our chance to thank her loved ones, the community and other key people for their help in bringing her home."

Dinh said Le "was a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a grandchild, and she will be deeply missed."

She added, "Michelle is well-loved, compassionate, and serves as an inspiration to all those whose lives she touched. Beautiful inside and out, Michelle wanted to strive for a selfless, giving life where she would have been able to help those in need."

Dinh said, "Her family and friends have been blessed to have her in our lives."

Giselle Esteban, a 27-year-old Union City woman who went to high school with Le in San Diego, was arrested on Sept. 7 and charged with murdering Le, even though Le's body hadn't yet been found.

Authorities said footage from security cameras at the Kaiser Permanente parking structure showed that Esteban was present around the time of Le's disappearance, and that evidence found inside Le's car indicated that Esteban had been in the vehicle.

In addition, DNA evidence and cellphone records tied Esteban to Le's death, authorities said.

Le's body was found in an unincorporated area between Pleasanton and Sunol on Sept. 17 and was identified on Sept. 19.

Esteban is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday to finalize her legal representation and possibly enter a plea.

The vigil will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the outdoor green space area at the Samuel Merritt campus at 450 30th St. in Oakland.

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