Body found in San Francisco Bay area could be missing nursing student Michelle Le

Le was last seen May 27, when the Merritt College nursing student took a work break during a clinical rotation shift at a Hayward, Calif., hospital and never returned. In addition to evidence from her car and the video surveillance system, police said Le's cell phone records and items collected during search warrants also pointed to homicide. Anyone with information is asked to call the Hayward Police Department at 510-293-7000.
Reward now $100K in case of missing nursing student Michelle Le
Michelle Le

(CBS/KPIX/AP) PLEASANTON, Calif. -- A volunteer searching for missing nursing student Michelle Le found a body in the rugged region of Alameda County of the San Francisco Bay area late Saturday morning, police said.

Pictures: Missing Calif. nursing student

The body was found around 10:30 a.m. by a member of a search team, police Lt. Roger Keener said. It was located in a brushy area near a dirt road, in an unincorporated area between Pleasanton and Sunol, reports CBS station KPIX.

The remains were so badly decomposed that investigators were not immediately able to determine if they were those of a male or female.

Le, 26, disappeared on May 27 when she took a break from her nursing classes at Hayward hospital. Giselle Esteban, a former friend of Le's from high school in San Diego, was arrested earlier this month and charged with murder.

Police said footage from security cameras at the Kaiser Permanente parking structure showed that Esteban was present around the time of Le's disappearance. Additionally, evidence found inside Le's car indicated that Esteban had been in the vehicle.

Police also said cellphone records show from wireless tower activations that Le and Esteban traveled along the same path leaving the area just after Le's disappearance.

Police served a search warrant at Esteban's house on May 29 and found a pair of athletic shoes, one of which contained Le's DNA.

Le's family has conducted regular searches for her since she went missing, with the help of the Klaas Kids Foundation and community volunteers. Hayward police had an investigator on the scene of the search, but called in the Sheriff's Department since the area where the body was found is in that agency's jurisdiction.

Alameda County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said the agencies would conduct a joint investigation until it is determined whether or not the body is Le.

Esteban, who is now pregnant, is due back in court Monday after a judge postponed a plea hearing so she could get an attorney. She was being held without bail.

Complete Coverage of Michelle Le on Crimesider