Michelle Le’s former friend arrested in missing nurse case 

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  • AP file photo

A former friend of missing San Mateo nursing student Michelle Le was arrested Wednesday and booked on murder charges, police said.

Video surveillance, cellphone traces and blood evidence connect Giselle Esteban of Union City to Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center, where Le was last seen, Hayward police Lt. Roger Keener said.

Police believe there was an “assault of some kind” in the medical center’s parking garage. “We’re not sure the condition Michelle was in when she left the garage,” he said.

Keener said cellphone records show both women’s phones traveling toward the same Alameda County location. Le’s car was found 1.5 miles from the medical center the following morning. Police believe Esteban acted alone.

Esteban, 27, was named a person of interest shortly after the May 27 disappearance of Le, 26. Esteban’s home was searched at least twice by police. A shoe with Le’s blood on it, matching blood found in her car, was recovered during one search, Keener said.

Keener would not discuss Esteban’s motive or relationship with Le, but Esteban told a TV station she disliked Le because she had ruined her relationship with the father of her child.

Three days before Le’s disappearance, her ex-boyfriend obtained a restraining order against Esteban following allegedly threatening and erratic behavior.

Keener said Le’s body has not been found and police do not know if there is a murder weapon. Consequently, Keener said, the investigation is only half-complete.

“It’s not complete until Michelle is found,” he said. “We have said from the beginning we would find Michelle and find the person responsible for her demise.”

Le’s family tried to hold back tears as they thanked police for their efforts in finding the person responsible for her disappearance Wednesday afternoon, but said they will not rest until she is found and is back home with them. They have offered a $100,000 reward for Le’s return or for information on her whereabouts. Another search for Le is planned for Sept. 15.

“I just want to hear her voice so badly,” Le’s brother Michael Le said. “No one should have to deal with the feeling of having a loved one missing.”

Esteban is expected to make her first appearance Thursday in Alameda County court. She is currently being held without bail, according to Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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Sunday, Sep 14, 2014

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