Body found in canyon is Michelle Le, coroner says 

The Alameda County coroner's bureau confirmed Monday evening that the body found in Niles Canyon Saturday morning is missing nursing student Michelle Le.

Hayward police said that although the body has been identified, forensic pathology examinations are ongoing to determine the exact manner and cause of death.

Le, 26, disappeared on May 27 from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward. She left the medical center around 7 p.m. that day, telling a classmate she was going to go to her car during a break, Hayward police Lt. Roger Keener said. 

She never returned. Her instructor later went to the parking garage looking for her and called police to report her disappearance.

Le's car was found the next morning around 9 a.m. parked on Ponderosa Court, about half a mile from the medical center, Keener said.

He said investigators found bloodstains in the vehicle, and it was later determined that the blood was Le's.

On Saturday, volunteers found a body in an unincorporated area between Pleasanton and Sunol where authorities believe Le had been, based on cellphone records.

Giselle Esteban, 27, was taken into custody on the morning of Sept. 7 as she was leaving her Union City home, Keener said. She was arrested on suspicion of murder, Keener said.

Keener also said footage from security cameras at the Kaiser Permanente parking structure showed that Esteban was present around the time of Le's disappearance.

Additionally, he said, evidence found inside Le's car indicated that Esteban had been in the vehicle.

He said cellphone records show from wireless tower activations that Le and Esteban traveled along the same path leaving the area just after Le's disappearance.

Police served a search warrant at Esteban's house on May 29 and found a pair of athletic shoes, one of which contained Le's DNA, Keener said.

Esteban appeared in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday on the charge that she killed Le, but her plea entry was postponed because she hasn't yet finalized her legal representation.

Defense attorney Andrea Auer appeared in court on behalf of Esteban, but she told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gary Picetti that it has not been determined whether she will represent Esteban.

Picetti granted Auer a delay and ordered Esteban to return to court on Sept. 28 to finalize her legal representation and possibly enter a plea.

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