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Suspect’s Pregnancy Delays Arraignment In Michelle Le Murder Case

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Giselle Esteban (Hayward PD)

Giselle Esteban (Hayward PD)

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HAYWARD (CBS SF) – The first court appearance of a 27-year-old woman charged with the murder of a missing Bay Area nursing student has been delayed due to a medical issue related to the pregnancy of her second child.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gary Picetti said Thursday that Giselle Esteban was seeing doctors and needed medical clearance before any criminal proceedings against her can begin.

Esteban is being charged with murder for the death of her former high school classmate Michelle Le, a 26-year-old who went missing in May.

Esteban, 27, was taken into custody Wednesday morning as she was leaving her Union City home. She did not appear in court Thursday and a new arraignment date has not been set.

Missing Student Michelle Le

Missing student Michelle Le. (family photo)

Le disappeared on May 27 from Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center. She left the medical center around 7 p.m. that day, telling a classmate she was going to her car during a break, Hayward police spokesman Lt. Roger Keener said. She never returned, and was later reported missing.

Her Honda SUV 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 blood was found in the vehicle, and it was later determined to be Le’s.

At a news conference at Hayward police headquarters on Wednesday, Keener 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 route leaving the area just after Le disappeared.

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

Hayward police investigators said in a probable cause statement filed in court that even though Le’s body hasn’t been found, they think she is dead because her financial records and social networking sites haven’t had any activity since she went missing.

Investigators also pointed out that highly publicized searches and appeals for information have failed to turn up information on Le’s whereabouts.

Keener declined to discuss a possible motive in the case Thursday, saying that to do so would only be “supposition.”

“Giselle hasn’t spoken to us and Michelle can’t speak to us,” he said.

Keener said Esteban and Le went to high school together in San Diego and also came to the Bay Area together to attend the same college.

However, Keener said that at some point they had a “falling out.”

He said Esteban told a news outlet shortly after Le disappeared that the falling-out had to do with Esteban’s former boyfriend but he said investigators haven’t confirmed that.

Keener also said Esteban’s ex-boyfriend had obtained a restraining order against her at some point before Le was killed.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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