With the family of Michelle Le looking on, a Hayward police lieutenant announced today that a Union city woman has been arrested and charged with her murder.
Giselle Diwag Esteban, 27, is "responsible for Michelle's demise,” Lt. Roger Keener told reporters at a news conference.
Le, 26, a nursing student, disappeared on May 27 during a break from her rotation at the Hayward Kaiser Hospital. Police later found her car parked in a nearby neighborhood.
Keener said investigators found Le's blood inside the abandoned car and on one of Esteban's shoes during a search of her apartment. He also said Le and Esteban's cell phones traveled on the same pathway the night Le disappeared.
Several undercover investigators began searching Esteban's home on Monterra Terrace in the Monte Vista neighborhood shortly before 10 a.m. today. An officer drove away in Esteban’s silver Honda CR-V.
The home has been searched at least twice before.
According to neighbors, police initially searched the home on May 28, the day after Le went missing. The home was searched again .
Esteban, 27, knew Le from their high school days in San Diego. She had a , also a friend of Le’s, on May 24, just three days before Le went missing from the Hayward Kaiser Permanente medical facility. The request barred Esteban from coming within 100 feet of her ex-boyfriend, with whom she has a 5-year-old child, or his immediate family.
The ex-boyfriend cited increasingly bizarre behavior by Esteban, including stalking him, threatening to shoot herself and entering his home uninvited.
Esteban has not spoken to media since telling KGO-TV reporters in early June that she “openly hates” Le after the two had a falling out. She also accused Le of ruining her relationship with her child’s father, but said that she had nothing to do with Le’s disappearance.
Esteban’s ex-boyfriend told Patch in a previous interview that he and Le have been close friends for nine years and that Esteban’s accusations are untrue.
In late July, Hayward police issued a statement saying they are in the case and that they hoped to make an arrest soon. They had identified Esteban as a "person of interest."
She will be arraigned Thursday at the Hayward Hall of Justice.
Police believe Michelle Le was attacked, but not necessarily killed, in the parking garage where her car was parked, Keener said today. Evidence shows Esteban was in Michelle Le's abandoned car, he said.
Esteban has refused to speak with investigators. They believe she may be the only person who can lead them to Le's body.
An FBI spokeswoman said the Michelle Le investigation was a "personal case" for them since Le was a niece of an employee at the FBI San Francisco office. She praised the Le family for keeping the case in the public spotlight.
The family is still searching for Michelle Le and they still "want to bring Michelle home,” Le’s cousin Krystine Dinh said.
"No words can express the emotion we are feeling today and to face we can't bring Michelle home with us,” she said.
Brother Michael Le said his 24th birthday is tomorrow, a day on which Michelle Le always called him.
"I want to hear her voice so badly," he said.