OAKLAND -- Exactly four months from the day she disappeared and 10 days after her body was found, friends and family of nursing student Michelle Le will hold a vigil in her honor Tuesday evening at Samuel Merritt University.
Le's cousin Krystine Dinh said they want to thank the community and key people who rallied behind the family and ultimately helped find their missing loved one.
"With the help of so many dedicated people, Michelle was brought home to us," Dinh wrote in a statement Friday.
Dinh said that her cousin is "well-loved, compassionate and serves as an inspiration to all those whose lives she touched.
"Beautiful inside and out, Michelle wanted to strive for a selfless, giving life where she would have been able to help those in need."
University spokeswoman Elizabeth Valente said a large turnout is expected for the outdoor vigil.
Le was in an accelerated program at the university, taking most of her classes at the San Mateo annex and doing clinical rotation at hospitals throughout the area.
She was on track to graduate in six months.
Valente said students at Samuel Merritt were hit hard by her disappearance and death, as was the community.
"There are so many people who have been truly affected," she said. "There's going to be a huge outpouring of people wanting to cope, pay tribute and meet the family. Even people who have never met Michelle."
Private memorial services for Le will be held at a later date.
Le, 26, was an alumna of San Francisco State, where she was in a sorority.
She grew up in a large extended family in San Diego and had many friends in the Bay Area and Southern California.
Her family has been praised by Hayward police for their unflagging work to draw attention to the case, and previous vigils have attracted hundreds of supporters.
It was a family-led search effort, with volunteers from the community, KlassKids and Team Amber Rescue, that ultimately found Le.
Le, who lived in San Mateo, disappeared while on a break from school-related duties at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward on May 27.
Police believe she was attacked in the hospital's parking garage, slain and left in a rural area near the Sunol-Pleasanton border, where her remains were found Sept. 17.
Former friend Giselle Esteban was arrested this month and charged with murder.
Esteban remains without bail at Santa Rita Jail and is due to make a court appearance Wednesday morning.