Dateline | January 11, 2013
>>> returning to our story, it's livanished from a hospital parking garage , but signs of her after her disappearance keep her on a typical san francisco summer afternoon as the fog rolled in, krystine and michael brought us up-to-date on their efforts to find michelle .
>> how long has it been now?
>> it's been over two months. it's been 72 days. how are you doing, the two of you with all of this? how are you holding up?
>> weird. just trying to keep the word out, trying to stay positive .
>> just really trying to stay positive is the hardest part.
>> the hardest time for me is getting in bed thinking, gosh, i hope michelle is in a bed.
>> you have decided that she's still alive.
>> it's not over. it's not going to be over until we get her home.
>> so that very evening they hosted a fund-raising event at a nearby restaurant and a few days later on august 20th , the 85th day of michelle le's disappearance, the san diego family piled into their cars just after midnight and made the long drive up the coast to launch their eighth search. time had faded the posters taped to their cars, and the creek bed seemed far away from any place where a body might have been dumped or a woman held captive.
>> they tracked where her cell phone ended up after she disappeared and it's all around the rural east bay and it's such a huge area.
>> it was 100 degrees in the waning days of summer and it seemed to have impacted turnout as the number of volunteers dwindled. suddenly the search leader called in a discovery. some female clothing partially buried in the sand.
>> what do you have?
>> i'm down by the creek. it's woman's underwear by the tree, almost like light pink, white.
>> it is, as it turns out, another false lead so they pack up. another fruitless day in a case gone cold, or so it seemed to michael and krystine, but oh, what they did not know that during all those weeks and months in which the family had been searching for a living woman, a police murder investigation had been very active indeed and now in the last days of august inspector frazier richey was closing in on a very hot target, but to understand how he got there we need to go back, almost to the beginning. it was minutes before midnight may 28th , 29 hours after michelle le disappeared. richey had gone to pay a midnight visit to michelle 's old high school friend giselle esteban .
>> how long has she been missing?
>> have you guys tried calling her?
>> i have no idea how to help you at this point. i'm -- i've actually trying to call her.
>> since when?
>> for, u, in, almost a week now. to tell her to stay away from my daughter.
>> so, clearly there was animosity between giselle esteban and michelle le, and so inspector richy and his partner brought gisele downtown to the police station for a more in-depth conversation.
>> i understand at -- at one point, you and michelle were close friend, is that right?
>> i considered her my sister.
>> and then what happened?
>> she made a mistake. scott made a mistake.
>> and that -- was that when you were with scott or had you guys broken up?
>> no. we were still together. they made mistakes.
>> and then michelle told a strange little story, she was pregnant, remember, with her second child and said she went to the hayward kaiser hospital for a pre-natal check-up just hours before michelle disappeared. she said she spotted her old friend at a distance.
>> were you surprised to see michelle there?
>> how did it make you feel when you saw her?
>> at first surprised and then annoyed and then i thought, okay. keep your blood pressure down, otherwise you're going to lose this baby.
>> strong feelings, but giselle esteban herself was not so strong, tiny and pregnant. hardly seemed physically capable of overpowering and murdering the larger michelle le, let alone, finding a way of disposing her body. they sent her home and later this afternoon finally got a look inside michelle 's car. as we did much later when the detectives showed it to us. nothing had changed, nothing was touched. here the morbid, but sad is personal space . this is what inspector richey found, a crime scene.
>> once we got the car open, you can see there's blood wiped across here and the plastic, a little bit on the floor mats and then as you can see, there's more droplets or blood dropping down going in a straight down pattern.
>> police also found some blood smeared on the floor of the garage where michelle 's car had been parked.
>> were you able to make a judgement about what would have happened when she got to her car?
>> she was attacked most likely here because from the looks of it, it looks like she ended up being placed in the backseat. there was a bloody confrontation here and then there's more blood back there, but you can see here, it's been moved around a bit and it's a little bit smeared up and there's more than one location.
>> clearly, a very violent and physical assault. who could have done this? a fresh look at the surveillance tapes may offer a clue. watch what michelle does as she walks to her car parked to the far right hand side of the lot. michelle makes a wide, sweeping turn to the left away from the car and then walks back to the right. a few seconds later it appears she stopped. what happened? did she see somebody she knew or somebody she didn't want to see? richey feels he may have answered that question when he found on the passenger seat of michelle 's car a little piece that would end up fitting into a very large puzzle.
>> we found a identification card from the samuel merit nursing school that michelle was attending, but it was not michelle 's. there was no reason for that to be there.
>> the name and face were plainly visible on the card partially wedged into the seat cushion as if somebody had left it there by mistake so richey called the school and was told.
>> oh, that's our new instructor that's starting in a week, and i could hear in the back of the phone her i.d. card 's gone. it's missing from my desk.
>> the card had been stolen, but by whom?
>> the thing about these identity cards , they're actually key cards. this is mine at nbc and whenever i'm in the headquarters building of 30 rockefeller plaza i use it to swipe the key card on that box there and makes an electronic recording of that moment in time and then at this place and then, if you're watched by security camera at the same time. in pack, you can't go anywhere in this building without being seen by security cameras . the security team of the nursing school did the same thing. they just looked for the computer record of the key card being used and they pulled up the security video from that moment and that place and voila, was there their thief.
>> i had them send me the still photographs and when i looked at it i immediately identified it, it was giselle esteban .
>> the picture was dated may 26th , one day before michelle le disappeared. so what else did she do that day? richey got a subpoena for all of the security camera footage from may 26th . what he saw in those videos was both strange and disturbing and moved michelle esteban to the top of the list of persons of interest.
>> coming up, the strange video trail of giselle esteban the day before michelle disappeared.
>> it shows giselle walking around with a lab coat on pretending to be an instructor.
>> what was she up to? when "vanished" continues. i'll believe