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Search team looking for missing nursing student finds body

September 17, 2011 |  7:15 pm

Michelle_le_lmegiencA search team looking for a missing nursing student discovered a body Saturday near a secluded dirt trail in the Bay Area community of Sunol, east of Hayward, authorities said.

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

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 Michelle Le, who went missing in May.

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. Police said the Alameda County coroner's office will make a determination on the identity.

Le, who grew up in San Diego County, disappeared May 27 after she left a Hayward hospital, where she was training, in order 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. Police 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