Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Dog is 'the hero' for finding remains of nursing student Michelle Le

September 21, 2011 | 12:55 pm

Photo: Overview of a crime scene area in Sunol, California. Officials have determined that badly decomposed human remains discovered over the weekend are those of Michelle Le, the missing nursing student who disappeared in May while taking a school break. Giselle Esteban has been charged with the murder. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

The mother of slain Escondido teenager Amber Dubois said Wednesday that she believes a "higher power" helped her dog find the remains of missing nursing student Michelle Le.

The dog is not a trained cadaver dog, but it accompanied Carrie McGonigle and others during a search of a remote canyon in Alameda Canyon.

The dog is named Amber in honor of McGonigle's 14-year-old daughter, who was raped and murdered in February 2009.

The dog, a year-old yellow Labrador, participated eagerly, and ran far ahead of the group, McGonigle said.

"I was amazed by her drive and ability to search the area," McGonigle told reporters in Escondido.

The dog led searchers to the remains of Michelle Le, 26, who disappeared May 27 while working at a hospital in Hayward.

"I'm not the hero," McGonigle said. "Amber is."

McGonigle's daughter disappeared while walking to school. Months of searching for her body were unsuccessful.

More than a year after Amber Dubois disappeared, convicted sex offender John Gardner admitted to her murder and led authorities to her remains.

Gardner also admitted to killing 17-year-old Chelsea King of Poway. He is now serving a life sentence without a chance of parole.

McGonigle has formed a group, TeamAmberRescue, to help in searches like the one launched for her daughter.

"I know God, my daughter Amber, and Michelle Le needed me," she said.

Giselle Esteban, 27, has been arrested on suspicion of killing Michelle Le. The two went to the same high school in San Diego.


California measles cases hit a 10-year high

Angry driver allegedly runs down pedestrian in Redondo Beach

Protesters don’t want 100 eucalyptus trees removed in Costa Mesa

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: The area where officials said Michelle Le's remains were found.

Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press