In May of 2011, a Vietnamese American nursing student, Michelle Le mysteriously disappeared from the Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center in California after she said that she was going to take a break from her classes. She told her colleagues that she was going to her car, but she never returned, and the next day, her locked Honda was found about half a mile away, with bloodstains inside. This mysterious case has been the focal point of NBC’s ‘Dateline,’ in an episode titled ‘Vanished,’ and the little facts about the case are as bone-chilling as they are perplexing.
Her body was found, decomposed and buried under vegetation, in a remote area four months after she had vanished, on September 17, but the law enforcement officers had been trying to solve her case since they had first come across it, and so, on September 7, 2011, they arrested and charged Giselle Esteban with the murder of Michelle Le.
Who Is Giselle Esteban?
Giselle Diwag Esteban, born February 4, 1984, of Union City, California, is a former friend of the victim. The two had spent their teenage years in San Diego together and had attended the same high school. The police suspected that someone close to Michelle had to be involved, so they were looking into everyone, and when they found DNA evidence in the form of bloodstains under a pair of sneakers in Giselle’s home, that matched the stains in the Honda, they knew that had found the perpetrator. They dug deeper and also found video surveillance footage confirming Giselle’s presence in the area at the time of Michelle’s disappearance.
Giselle had been tracking Michelle’s movements for months, going as far as to stake out the medical center and keep a track of her routine. She was making extraordinary efforts to find Michelle in a quiet spot and then sneakily attack her, which she did in the parking garage of the center. She did all this because she was blaming Michelle for ruining her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Scott Marasigan, with whom she had a child. Scott and Michelle were friends, but Giselle believed that they were having an affair, an affair that would destroy her chances of getting back together with him.
She became irate and possessive, filled with rage and speculation, so she went as far as to make several threats to both Michelle and Scott. According to Scott, in late 2010, the three even met up with a counselor to talk about Giselle’s allegations about Michelle interfering in their relationship, a relationship that hadn’t been romantic for several years. He said that he had won custody of their daughter that year itself and that she had to move to the Bay Area to be closer to them. He conceded that she appeared to be lonely because she didn’t have many friends in the area and even admitted that they had shared some sexual times together in early 2011.
Where Is Giselle Esteban Now?
After Giselle was arrested and charged, she maintained that she didn’t have any involvement in Michelle’s disappearance or murder, so when the case went to court, she entered a not guilty plea. However, because of the myriad of evidence against her – the bloodstains, the surveillance footage, the cellphone movements, and the threats – the jury convicted her of first-degree murder, and on December 10, 2012, she was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
During the trial, her attorney admitted that Giselle had killed Michelle but it was, at most, manslaughter that was sparked by a moment of passion. The judge and jury felt otherwise, though. They conveyed that the evidence proved that the plan to murder her was predetermined and it was obvious that Giselle felt no remorse for what she did. The judge even went as far as to warn her that if she continues to feel like what she did was justified, she might never be paroled.
While all of this was happening, Giselle was pregnant, so she gave birth to her child when she was in custody, just before her hearing, after which they were taken away from her to be raised by the father. Giselle herself is still behind bars and would stay there till at least 2037. (Featured Image Credit: Hayward Police Department)
Read More: Where Are Giselle Esteban’s Kids Now?