A badly decomposed body, which was found in a bushy area of Alameda County of the San Francisco Bay Area late Saturday morning, was confirmed Monday night as the remains of Michelle Le, the 26-year-old missing nursing student.
According to the tests, which were conducted by the Alameda County coroner, the badly decomposed body was already confirmed as Le's remains. But the coroner hasn't yet determined the cause and manner of Le's death, Hayward police said.
The body was found Saturday morning near a dirt road between the Pleasanton and Sunol's unincorporated area by a volunteer of a search team, according to CBS station KPIX.
Le, 26, went missing about 7 p.m. on May 27. It was reported that she left during a class break at Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center. She told her classmates that she planned to drive to Reno, Nev., to meet her friends over the weekend. But after she left, she never came back again.
Giselle Esteban, an ex-friend of Le, was arrested on Sept. 7 on suspicion of murdering Le. Le and Esteban were friends in the high school. However, the relationship between Esteban and Le soured afterwards. Esteban once said straightforward in an interview that she openly hated Le because Le caused her and her ex-boyfriend to split. However, she has denied involvement in Le's disappearance.
Le's family, who had acknowledged receiving the confirmation of Le's remains, made a statement, thanking police and others who helped search for Michelle.
Tonight, our family has been notified that this weekend, we have found Michelle, Dinh said in an e-mail. Please continue praying for and supporting Michelle as our family begins the journey to ensure justice in her honor, Le family spokeswoman Krystine Dinh said.
The Samuel Merritt University, Le's school, also expressed their sadness over Le's death.
“I join Michelle’s classmates and others in the SMU community in profound sadness over the death of Michelle Le,” Samuel Merritt University President Sharon Diaz said. “Our board, administrators, faculty, staff and students offer our deepest condolences to Michelle’s family and many friends. This kind of senseless violence is difficult to understand. Michelle had so much to live for and sought only to give to others - her life was so pointlessly taken. Something like this affects our entire campus community. It is especially important, in this time of grief that we reach out to one another on campus.”
University spokeswoman Elizabeth Valente described Le as a ray of sunshine, who was thirst for knowledge and a passion for nursing. She was well-liked on campus, Valente said.
Le family said she had decided to go into nursing to follow in the footsteps of her mother.
Prosecutors believe Esteban killed Le, based on several evidences. The police have confirmed from the security cameras at the Kaiser Permanente parking structure that Esteban was present around the time of Le’s disappearance. Furthermore, there was additional physical evidence discovered inside Le’s car that confirmed that Esteban had been inside Le's car.
According to Le and Esteban’s cell phone records, the authorities have the evidence that they had traveled the similar path from the medical center to the Niles and Sunol Canyon areas in Alameda County. On May 29, the police found a pair of shoes in Esteban's house which contained Le’s DNA.
Esteban, 27, hasn't entered a plea. Now Esteban is pregnant and being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without bail.