Arrest made in Michelle Le case

Samuel Merritt University

Media Relations Contact:

Stephanie Bangert, 510.869.1528


September 7, 2011

Arrest made in Michelle Le case

(Oakland, California, September 7, 2011) On May 27, Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) student Michelle Le went missing from the parking garage at the Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center where she was on a break during a clinical rotation.  Her Samuel Merritt University instructor and fellow classmates reported Michelle missing to the Hayward Police Hayward around 7:00pm.  Michelle's car was driven from the parking structure and subsequently found a few blocks away, however, Michelle remains missing.  Over these three months, the University has been in contact with the police department and with the Le family to assist in the investigation.

According to news reports and a press conference conducted by the Hayward Police at 2:15pm a former friend of missing nursing student Michelle Le was arrested this morning on suspicion of murder.  Hayward Police officials reported on evidence leading them to the arrest of Giselle Esteban, 27, of Union City.  She is being held without bail.  Esteban was identified soon after Le's disappearance on May 27 as a "person of interest."

During the press conference members of the Le family expressed their deepest wish to continue in the search for Michelle to "bring her home".  Because finding Michelle is their first priority, Hayward police officials will continue the investigation to find her. The FBI has been a partner in the investigation of her disappearance.

"On behalf of the Samuel Merritt University community, we express our sincere thoughts and prayers for Michelle and her family as the search to find her continues.  Michelle's story has touched our students, faculty, staff and SMU friends, and we want to see her returned to her family as soon as possible," said University President Sharon Diaz.

Anyone with information that may help locate Michelle should contact the Hayward Police Department at 510.293.7000.  For on-going developments in the investigation and to learn of continuing efforts to find Michelle, please refer to the news media. 

Samuel Merritt University, located in Oakland, California, has been educating health science practitioners who are committed to making a positive difference in diverse communities since 1909.  Nearly 1,400 students are enrolled at SMU, with campuses in Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Mateo.  The University offers an undergraduate degree in nursing; master's degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, and physician assistant; and doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and podiatric medicine.  For more information visit

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