Case of missing nursing student now a homicide

SAN DIEGO -- A forensic examination led Northern California investigators to believe that a missing 26-year-old nursing student from San Diego was killed, according to authorities Monday.

Surveillance video from the garage where Michelle Le's vehicle was parked, cellphone records obtained from search warrants, and other evidence led investigators to consider the case a homicide, Hayward police Capt. Darryl McAllister said. 

Police said Le was attending the San Mateo campus of Samuel Merritt University and was doing work at the hospital when she vanished May 27. Le told a colleague she was going to her car, which was parked in the hospital lot. She never returned, and police found her car parked a few blocks away.

Le had told friends that she and a buddy planned to go to Reno after her Friday night shift, according to police. "She grabbed her keys and cellphone and never came back," Keener told the San Francisco Chronicle. "She didn't call to cancel her trip and she never showed up to meet her friend."

Police have been searching remote areas of Alameda County for Le's body.

Investigators have interviewed 25 people, but have not made any arrests in the case, McAllister said.  Le's former friend Giselle Esteban was a person of interest regarding the disappearance, who also grew up in San Diego, according to Hayward police. 

Esteban told a San Francisco television station in an interview that she "openly hates" Le, claiming the missing woman stole her boyfriend. But Esteban also told the station she had nothing to do with Le's disappearance.

McAllister did not release any specifics to what evidence exactly pointed to a homicide.

Earlier Monday, the reward for information leading to the safe return of Le was increased to $65,000.