Coroner: Remains those of missing nursing student -

Coroner: Remains those of missing nursing student

HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) -- Badly decomposed human remains found in a San Francisco Bay area canyon are those of Michelle Le, the missing nursing student who disappeared in May while taking a school break, police said Monday night.

Hayward police said tests by the Alameda County coroner on the remains confirmed they were those of the 26-year-old Le. Police said the coroner has not yet determined Le's cause or manner of death, and declined to release any further information.

On Saturday, police and volunteer searchers discovered the remains off a dirt trail in a rugged Alameda County canyon. Police said cell phone signals from Le and a former school friend they suspect in her death had been received from the area.

In a statement, Le family spokeswoman Krystine Dinh acknowledged receiving the news and thanked police and others who helped search for Michelle.

"Tonight, our family has been notified that this weekend, we have found Michelle," Dinh said in an e-mail. "Please continue praying for and supporting Michelle as our family begins the journey to ensure justice in her honor."

The former friend, Giselle Esteban, 27, knew Le in high school in San Diego and was arrested earlier this month and charged with murder. She has not yet entered a plea.

Prosecutors believe Esteban, who is pregnant, attacked Le in the parking garage of the hospital where Le was doing a clinical rotation. Police later found Le's Honda SUV a half-mile away.

At the time of her May 27 disappearance, Le was working on a bachelor's degree program at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, combining classroom work with clinical training.

Her family said Le decided to go into nursing because she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother.

University spokeswoman Elizabeth Valente has described the young woman as "a ray of sunshine" with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for nursing. She was well-liked on campus, Valente, said.

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