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Coroner to determine if decomposed body is that of Michelle Le

September 18, 2011 |  8:03 am

Michelle_le_lmegiencAlameda County coroner's officials will determine whether a decomposed body found on a dirt trail Saturday is that of missing nursing student Michelle Le.

The body was discovered about 10:30 a.m. by member of a search party made up of family members and volunteers looking for 26-year-old Le, who went missing in May.

Marc Klass, whose daughter Polly was kidnapped and killed in 1993, was helping the Lee family in the search. "We've always had one goal, and that's to help the family find Michelle," Klaas told the San Francisco Chronicle. "And if that's what occurred today, then we've been successful in our efforts."

Crime scene investigators were inspecting the badly decomposed body, which was found in a brushy area near Pleasanton Sunol Road and Verona Road, said Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators said it could not immediately be determined whether the body was that of Le. Because of the condition of the remains, not even the gender could be discerned, according to a news release by the Hayward Police Department.

Le, who grew up in San Diego County, disappeared May 27 after she left a Hayward hospital where she was training to retrieve something from her car. A woman who went to high school with Le in San Diego, Giselle Esteban, was arrested last week in connection with her disappearance.

Esteban had been a person of interest in the investigation because she had blamed Le for ruining her relationship with her boyfriend, authorities said. Investigators also said they found Le's DNA on one of Esteban's shoes, along with evidence that she had been in Le's car and security camera footage of Esteban from the Hayward parking lot.

It was the eighth search organized by Le's family, which has raised $100,000 for a reward in the case.

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-- Victoria Kim

Photo: An undated file photo shows 26-year-old female nursing student Michelle Le. Credit: Hayward Police Department

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