Giselle Esteban and Michelle Le were best friends when they were students at Mt. Carmel High School a decade ago. But now, it appears a bizarre love triangle may have led to murder.
Police arrested Estaban on Wednesday and charged her with killing Le, a 27-year-old nursing student. While authorities would not specify a motive, they referenced a TV interview in which Esteban accused Le of stealing her boyfriend. In the interview, Estabeban said she "openly hates Michelle."
Le disappeared from a hospital parking garage in Hayward, in the Bay Area, more than three months ago. Her body still has not been recovered, and family members hold out hope she could be alive. But police ruled the case a homicide in June. At a news conference Wednesday, Hayward police outlined their case against Esteban.
Police said they had surveillance video of Esteban near Le's vehicle before and after it was in the hospital parking lot. They said they also had evidence that proved Esteban was inside Le's car. They said GPS tracking showed the both Esteban's and Le's cell phone took the same trip to the Niles Canyon/Sunol area the night Le disappeared. And they said they found evidence of DNA from Le on a shoe taken during a search of Esteban's home.
News helicopters circling over Esteban's apartment complex showed a swarm of police activity, including officers taking boxes of evidence from her home.
In May, police detained Esteban as a "person of interest," but released her later.
Esteban's ex-boyfriend and the father of her child filed a restraining order against her three days before Le disappeared, according to an article in the Contra Costa Times. Court documents say that Esteban had been exhibiting erratic and threatening behavior.
Le has been missing since May 27, after she disappeared during a break from a nursing class at Kaiser hospital in Hayward. Police found her locked parked car with blood inside the next day, but no sign of Le.
It was not clear what prompted the arrest Wednesday. Police said nearly a month ago that an arrest in the case was imminent.
Le's brother Michael and other family members were at the news conference. Michael Le said the entire Le family was overwhelmed by the news of the arrest. The family has not given up hope of finding Michelle and said the next search was scheduled for Sept. 16. They are also offering a $100,000 reward.
The family said their primary concern now was to find Michelle and bring her home. They said they would fight every day until that happened.
Le grew up in San Diego and graduated from Mt. Carmel High before moving to Hayward. Esteban and Le were friends at Mt. Carmel and they both ended up living in the Bay Area after high school.
Police ruled the case to be a homicide in June.
Esteban is being held on a no bail warrant at the Santa Rita jail. She has a court arraignment scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Le's family made a plea to Esteban during Wednesday's news conference. Michael Le she had "robbed us of our lives" and added they she shouldn't drag this out. The end of that statement seemed to be a call for Esteban to tell authorities where she put Michelle's body.