Michelle Hoang Thi Le disappeared on May 27, 2011. Le’s story will be told on tonight’s episode of Dateline NBC.
At the time of her disappearance, Le was a 26-year-old Vietnamese-American nursing student. She disappeared from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward, California.
Though Le’s body was not immediately located, investigators said early on in the investigation that the evidence pointed toward homicide. The evidence included a forensic examination from her car and the parking garage as well as video evidence from the garage.
Michele Le’s Body Was Found in September 2011
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) July 10, 2020
A volunteer found Michelle Le’s body in September 2011. The volunteer, Carrie McGonigle, is the mother of a teenager named Amber Dubois who was raped and killed in 2010.
McGonigle and her dog Amber were searching an area between a dirt path and railroad tracks when they came across Le’s remains.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this is of great personal satisfaction to Carrie and that Amber is looking down on her from heaven with pride in her heart and a big smile on her face,” Marc Klaas, whose daughter was kidnapped and killed in 1993, told SF Gate.
Le’s family released a statement on the discovery and said they were planning on holding a memorial service to give their loved one a proper goodbye.
“Thank you for your support, prayers and thoughts. Our family has greatly appreciated, and would be at a loss without, the help of so many people and volunteers,” the statement said.
The discovery of the body, according to former Santa Clara County prosecutor Steve Clark, was a huge piece of the prosecution case since it will establish that there is no doubt that Le was dead.
Le Was Last Seen on May 27, 2011
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) July 9, 2020
Le was last seen on May 27, 2011 when she went to her car during a break in a clinical nursing class.
Police believed that she’d been attacked by Giselle Eseteban, who was 27 years old at the time. Estseban reportedly blamed Le for breaking her and her ex-boyfriend up, but she’d said that she had nothing to do with the disappearance prior to her arrest.
Esteban and Le attended high school together in San Diego, California, and cell phone records showed that their cell phones “traveled on a similar path” following Le’s disappearance.
Esteban was arrested on September 7, 2011 and charged with the murder of Le, though her body had not been located yet. Authorities at the time said that there was enough evidence to convict Esteban.
The evidence came in the form of DNA in blood stains found in Le’s car and on Esteban’s shoe as well as a security video confirming Esteban’s presence in the area where Le disappeared.
Esteban plead not guilty. She was convicted of first-degree murder on October 29, 2012 and was sentenced to 25 to life in prison. At the time of the murder, Esteban was pregnant, and she gave birth to her child in prison.
Tune in to Dateline NBC on Friday, July 10 at 9 p.m. to learn more about Michelle Le’s disappearance and murder.