Michelle Le Case: Missing Nursing Student's Body Identified

The body discovered in Niles Canyon earlier this week has been confirmed as Le.

ByABC News
September 20, 2011, 1:25 AM

Sept. 20, 2011— -- The body discovered in California's Niles Canyon earlier this week has been confirmed as that of missing California nursing student Michelle Le, according to the Hayward Police Department.

The cause of death has yet to be determined by the Alameda County Coroner, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Le's remains were found in the same area where police believe the woman charged with Le's murder dumped her body.

John Hayes, a volunteer in the search for Le, discovered the remains in a remote, brushy area of Alameda County Sunday, but investigators originally said it could take weeks to determine whether they were the woman's.

"You just hope when you go through this … when something's discovered you hope it's not in an area that you were in because it's not a good feeling; that's all I can say, it's not a good feeling," Hayes told ABC News affiliate KGO.

Giselle Esteban, who is suspected of Le's murder, made her second court appearance Monday and was charged with the killing. Esteban was appointed an attorney, who asked for time to review the case.

"All I can say at this point is that I've just met Ms. Esteban and so I really don't have anything substantive to say at this point," defense attorney Andrea Auer said.

Esteban, 27, and pregnant with her second child, told KGO in June that she "hates" Le because Le was friends with the father of Esteban's 5-year-old daughter. Esteban has denied having anything to do with Le's disappearance.

Police, however, have said that evidence, including cellphone records, indicate that Esteban was in the same wooded area as Le when she vanished.

Le, 26, went missing May 27, when she took a break from her nursing classes at a Hayward hospital. She told colleagues she was going to her car, but she never returned from the break and her locked Honda SUV was found later, half a mile away.

A former high school friend of Le's, Esteban was arrested 13 days ago in connection with Le's disappearance. Investigators say surveillance video, cellphone records and DNA samples led to Esteban's arrest.

Even before Le's body was discovered, investigators had said they had enough to charge Esteban with the killing. Surveillance video shows her at the crime scene before and after Le went missing, traces of Le's blood were found inside Esteban's car and Le's DNA was found on one of Esteban's shoes, Hayward police said.