OAKLAND -- Giselle Esteban took extraordinary efforts in the days before she allegedly killed Michelle Le to track down her former high school friend, testimony from several witnesses revealed this week.
From making phone calls where she pretended to be Le to stealing a security badge in order to rifle through university records, Esteban cunningly fooled almost a dozen people into giving her little pieces of information that together finally led her to Le on May 27, 2011, in the parking garage of Kaiser Permanente in Hayward.
After failing to get Le's home address from mutual friends, Esteban focused her efforts on finding out where Le was practicing to be a nurse.
Two days before she is accused of killing Le, Esteban called Samuel Merritt University, where Le was enrolled, pretending to be an old friend and asked a teacher for Le's contact information, the teacher testified Wednesday.
Esteban identified herself as Jaime and that she had just arrived at the airport and was trying to contact Le, said Marjorie Villanueva. Villanueva said that the person who called said she had dropped her cellphone in a toilet and as a result lost Le's cellphone number.
Villanueva said she did not provide the contact information but did confirm that Le was enrolled at the school.
The next day, Esteban went to the university's San Mateo campus posing as a prospective student and had a meeting with an administrator. When the administrator stepped out of the meeting to attend to another matter, Esteban found and stole a security badge which she later used to break into the university's offices.
Surveillance cameras from the evening of May 26, 2011, show Esteban walking through the offices wearing a white lab coat and holding a student roster that contained names and pictures of students.
Esteban also learned that Le was training at the Kaiser Permanente in Hayward as part of her university studies and immediately began calling the hospital seeking information about Le, other witnesses testified. Authorities do not know how Esteban learned that Le was practicing at the Hayward hospital.
Esteban first called pretending to be Le and saying she had forgotten her schedule and needed to know when she was supposed to be at work. She also called the hospital pretending to be a teacher for the university seeking information about Le.
Through her various calls and bits of information she received, Esteban learned that Le was working at the hospital on Thursdays and Fridays and that her shift usually began between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., witnesses testified.
None of the witnesses who testified Wednesday could identify Esteban as the person who contacted them seeking information about Le, but deputy district attorney Butch Ford matched the time of those phone calls to Esteban's cellphone records, proving the calls were made from Esteban's phone.
All the witnesses said that the calls seemed unusual but that they did not really pay attention until they learned that Le went missing. The witnesses said at that point, they began to think of their various interactions and notified Hayward Police.
Testimony in the case will continue Tuesday.