Dateline | January 11, 2013
>>> cell phones buzzed and after michelle livanished from the watching web. certainly her iphone hadn't vanished. one creepy text after another i had a bad night last night. i don't really want to talk to anyone right now. but then after three hours of that, detectives stopped just as suddenly as they had begun. the last one simply said i'm sick. so strange. so out of character. to michelle 's family and friends it seemed obvious someone had michelle 's phone. someone who was not michelle .
>> the more that day without my sister it felt like it was becoming --
>> having this person text back as michelle was extremely, extremely terrifying.
>> what does it feel like to go through that?
>> it's hard to put into words. living nightmare, i think, is the closest thing.
>> the strange way, as chilling as these messages were they gave michelle 's friends and family some hope. to them it was obvious they were communicating with someone who had abducted michelle and so their mission was now clear. michelle didn't just need to be found. michelle needed to be rescued.
>> it's a time-critical situation. every second that you waste is a second that she was hurting and we had to find her.
>> saturday afternoon, 18 hours after michelle vanished, michael and a group of michelle 's friends met with inspector frazier richey was hayward police department .
>> we had about ten or 15 family members, classmates and friends at the police department . they were all talking about how responsible she was, how out of character this would have been for her to just get up and leave.
>> did you try to call michelle or anything?
>> did you get a response?
>> i sent a message out, this is inspector richey of the hayward police department you need to get a hold of me right now.
>> i got the response within several minutes saying that my phone is dying. i need to find a charger. i'm having car trouble .
>> the same sort of response received by michelle 's friends and family who had now decided based on those weird text messages that michelle had been kidnapped, but as far as inspector richey was concerned, just about anything was possible.
>> i kept an open mind . i didn't know whether michelle voluntarily went missing for whatever personal reasons she had or if this was a stranger abduction or if this was an abduction from someone that she knew or if she just left with a friend.
>> did anybody think she would have just flipped out or stressed out?
>> i asked, is it possible that she could just be out there all stressed out and they said yes, it's possible. inspector richey also asked if michelle had any enemies or problems with ex-boyfriends, for example.
>> the only problem she seemed to have with anybody was giselle esteban.
>> giselle esteban was in san diego . she was a fixture around the house and spent hours with all of those cousins and then after high school in 2002 the two friends both moved to san francisco to attend college and that's where giselle fell in love and got pregnant, moved in with her boyfriend scott and then broke up with him three years later. the trouble came when michelle stayed friends with scott, with that boyfriend after the breakup and that just didn't sit well with giselle . though really it wasn't such a big deal . still, to cover all of the bases, late saturday night richey dropped in on giselle to ask what she knew.
>> we are here about michelle le.
>> michelle ?
>> oh, god, what about her?
>> she went missing last night from her work. in talking to -- her friends and such. we understand that you guys had a tumultuous relationship.
>> a tumultuous relationship? she was my best friend who slept with my then-fiance.
>> i started talking to her and asking her questions about her relationship with michelle and if she can provide any information where she would be.
>> giselle said she had no idea. and besides, they weren't seeing each other these days so she wouldn't know. then just due diligence that night, richey sent another team of detectives to speak to giselle 's ex-boyfriend, the father of her baby who they were interested to learn now had sole custody of the child.
>> listening to him, talking to him and the relationship with him and his daughter and his family and things like that, he didn't seem to be the type of person that could lie. that would lie.
>> sunday, 48 hours after michelle appeared in that ghostly video at the parking lot , her large, extended family began arriving from san diego and meeting with the police and that's when detectives began to understand michelle a little, how kind she was and bright and self-reliant. very much like this young woman , fong le, also vietnamese-american, also a 20-something nursing student , also living in the san francisco area who 13 months earlier also disappeared.
>> there were a lot of similarities, in that she's the same age category, aim ethnicity, same profession.
>> even the same last name. was a pattern developing?
>>> coming up, police look into the possible connection between those student nurses and a meeting between police and michelle 's family goes badly.
>> we were horrified.
>> when "dateline" continues.