Tonight on Dateline NBC, the story of the disappearance and murder of nursing student Michelle Le will be examined. Le disappeared in May 2011, and her body was discovered later that year.
Le disappeared from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward, California on May 27, 2011, and her body was located later that year.
Investigators believed early on that the evidence pointed toward homicide rather than another type of disappearance, but Le’s family believed that she was alive and needing rescue until her body was found.
Here’s what you should know about Michelle Le’s family:
1. Le’s Cousin Said the Tape Used as Evidence of Her Murder Was ‘Really Hard to See’
Michelle Le’s cousin, Krystine Dinh, spoke with Dateline about her cousin’s murder and the evidence that had been presented to them.
“We never found out the cause of death because it was out of camera view, but it’s hard,” Dinh explained. “You really just want to go into the screen, grab her and protect her. You know those last minutes of her life were really hard to see.”
She went on to say that the amount of premeditation and thinking behind the murder was “really shocking,” saying that it was hard to watch Le walk to the parking garage, which was the last place she was seen alive.
2. Le’s Family Believed She Was Alive & in Need of Rescue Until Her Body Was Found
In an interview in June 2011, Michelle Le’s family said they believed that she would be found alive and they would not give up hope, no matter what the police told them.
“Even though the Hayward Police Department has given up on finding Michelle alive, our family and friends continued to maintain hope and faith in her return,” they said. “Until the Hayward Police Department can offer conclusive and definite proof – otherwise we will continue to believe that she, Michelle, is still alive and needs to be rescued.”
The Hayward police said that while they understood the news they were telling the family was bad, the “effort to find Michelle [was] officially an effort of recovery.”
3. They Thanked Jurors for Finding Le’s Murderer Guilty
In a statement posted by KlaasKids Foundation, Le’s family said they were relieved to hear that Le’s murderer had been convicted of first-degree murder.
“We’d like to acknowledge the KlaasKids Foundation, the Hayward Police Department, our legal team DA Butch Ford, Erin Osanna and Tai Nguyen, the Bay Area community, our friends and loved ones, and finally, the jurors, for not only helping us find Michelle but bring justice to her cold, violent and untimely death,” they wrote in the statement.
They continued, saying that Le was selfless and loving and they miss her each day.
4. They Stayed Involved With Missing Persons Cases Nationally
In the same statement to KlaasKids Foundation, Le’s family said that they were planning to honor her memory by being involved with missing persons cases.
“In her memory, our family and loved ones continue her legacy in ways big and small,” they said. “We plan to stay involved in missing persons cases nationally through the KlaasKids Foundation, scholarships through Samuel Merritt University for aspiring nurses who have financial burden, and finally, but most importantly, keeping those we love as our first priority – always.”
They encouraged others to volunteer in any way that they can.
5. Le’s Brother Said the Guilty Verdict Lifted a ‘Tremendous Burden’
After the guilty verdict came through from the jurors, Le’s brother Michael spoke with The Mercury News about how the family felt about the verdict.
“We were just hoping and praying the jury would make the right call, and this is it,” he said. “We feel that a tremendous burden has been lifted.”
Le’s father, Son Le, said that he believed “Michelle is resting in peace knowing that justice is done.”
Tune in to Dateline NBC on Friday, July 10 at 9 p.m. to learn more about Michelle Le’s disappearance and murder.