Former MC student Giselle Esteban, 27, was sentenced on Dec. 10 to 25 years to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Michelle Le, also a former MC student.
Alameda County Superior Court judge Jon Rolefson delivered the sentence after declaring that Esteban “showed no signs of remorse” for murdering her former best friend and dumping Le’s body.
Le, a 26 year-old nursing student in the San Francisco Bay Area, disappeared on May 27, 2011 from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. Officials recovered her body four months later in a remote area between Pleasanton and Sunol in northern California.
Prosecutors allege that Esteban killed Le because Esteban mistakenly believed that Le was engaged in sexual relations with Scott Marasigan, the father of Esteban’s seven year old daughter. Esteban allegedly monitored Le’s activity to and from the hospital for weeks and sent threatening text messages to Marasigan to terminate what she believed to be his relationship with Le.
High school friends, Esteban and Le went to the Bay Area together to attend college after graduating from MC. At the time of her disappearance, Le’s family and the KlaasKids Foundation conducted at least eight volunteer search efforts and offered a $65,000 reward for information about Le’s whereabouts. Le’s decomposed remains were uncovered on Sept 17. The Alameda County courthouse identified the remains to be those of Le on Sept 19.
Blood stains found in Le’s car and on Esteban’s shoe offered DNA evidence of Esteban’s involvement, and security video footage placed Esteban in the area at the time of Le’s disappearance. Transcripts from an earlier grand trial jury hearing establish that on May 27, 2011, when Le was in class during a clinical rotation at Kaiser Medical center in Hayward, Esteban summoned her to a parking garage where Esteban killed Le and stored her body in the trunk. Esteban drove out to the Niles Canyon area to dispose of the body. She sent texts like “Off to Reno” from Le’s phone in an attempt to cover up Le’s disappearance, and planted Le’s phone in Marasigan’s car.
The case received national media attention and was featured in a two-hour episode of ‘Dateline NBC’ which focused on search efforts to recover Le’s body, aided by Marc Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was kidnapped and killed in 1993, and Carrie McGonigle, whose 14-year-old daughter Amber DuBois was abducted and murdered in 2009.