Person of interest described as "vindictive" and violent - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Person of interest in Michelle Le murder case described as "vindictive" and violent

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San Diego, Calif. (AP/News 8) - An ex-boyfriend of Giselle Esteban, a person of interest in the Michelle Le murder investigation, says that Esteban was "violent" and "vindictive" throughout the course of their relationship.

"Very vindictive, revengeful... She liked to be in control a lot," said Normal Heights resident Cole Gabaldon, who began dating Esteban, who is originally from Rancho Penasquitos, in the summer of 2009. They moved in together in September of that year.

Over time, Gabaldon says Esteban's behavior proved disturbing. After one spat, Gabaldon says he was barred from his own home.

"I got home, the doors were locked, " Gabaldon told News 8. "The locks were changed. I couldn't get inside the house."

The final straw for Gabaldon was when, he says following another disagreement, she physically attacked him.

"She was already asleep when I got home," he said. "I woke up and she was on top of me, trying to strangle me."

Gabaldon says he finally had to legally evict Esteban to force her out of his home, in June of 2010.

Relatives of Le, the Northern California nursing student who disappeared 11 days ago said earlier this week they are holding out hope for her safe return even though police believe the 26-year-old is dead.

Le and Esteban had once been close friends but had a falling out over a man, with Esteban accusing Le of being "the other woman" and openly admitting she "hates" Le. Still, Esteban said she had nothing to do with Le's disappearance.

Michelle Le's father said that he feels Hayward police have given up on finding his daughter alive without providing conclusive evidence to support their decision Monday to reclassify the case as a homicide.

"To us, if you call something murder case, you have to have a body," Son Le told reporters outside the police station.

Michelle Le was last seen May 27 leaving a Hayward hospital during a break from a clinical rotation. Her locked car was found several blocks away.

The decision to label the case a homicide was based on forensic evidence from Le's car, surveillance footage outside the hospital, cell phone records and evidence collected during search warrants, said Capt. Darryl McAllister.

He said that despite the new classification, there would be no reduction in the number of investigators assigned to the case.

Police have questioned more than 25 people and identified several persons of interest, but no arrests have been made.

Le's younger brother, Michael Le, said that family members have been "frustrated by the lack of information" they have received from investigators surrounding the homicide classification. He said the family was given no more details than the general public received.

McAllister said that earlier reports that the family has been critical of his department were understandable, but that investigators have a reason for holding some details back.

"I have the highest regard for this family," he told The Associated Press on Monday. "But there are some questions you just can't get answers to. We are well into this investigation and still have a lot of work to do."

McAllister did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the family's latest statements.

Also on Tuesday, Samuel Merritt University, where Le was participating in an accelerated bachelor's degree program, posted a message of remembrance on its website.

"For a brief moment in time, Michelle Le, a beautiful, kind-hearted, energetic, and compassionate young woman graced us with her presence," said the statement from Sharon Diaz, the Oakland university's president. "The pain we feel is indescribable."

Le's family is offering a $65,000 reward for information leading to her return. Relatives plan to keep distributing fliers in the neighborhood where Le went missing, Son Le said.

"There's still a lot more work that needs to be done," he said. "Please do not give up hope, because we know we still believe she is alive."

A special flashlight vigil for Michelle Le will be held at Hilltop Community Park in Rancho Penasquitos Friday, June 10 at 7pm. The public is welcomed to attend. For more information, go to  http://www.facebook.com/find.nurse.le#!/event.php?eid=196935187018937

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