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Hayward Police officers are seen along a dirt road near Pleasanton Sunol Road at Verona Road where a body was found in Pleasanton, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. Authorities are trying to determine if it may be the body of missing nursing student Michelle Le, who disappeared on May 27. A former friend, Giselle Esteban, 27, was arrested Sept. 7 on suspicion of murder. (Anda Chu/Staff)

SUNOL -- A body found Saturday during the search for missing San Mateo resident Michelle Le won't be identified for about a week, officials said Sunday.

Le, 26, went missing on May 27 when she took a break from her nursing classes in Hayward. Giselle Esteban, 27, was arrested on suspicion of her murder on Sept. 7 and has been suspected of being angry with Le over a love triangle.

A Hayward police officer found a body in some brush near a remote ranch home near the Sunol-Pleasanton border. It was badly decomposed, and investigators had not even determined Sunday whether it was a man or a woman, Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said. Wild animals in the area also appeared to have damaged the body, he added.

The remains were found near Pleasanton Sunol and Verona roads, south of the Castlewood Country Club in the general area where Hayward police said the 26-year-old's cellphone was traced shortly after her disappearance May 27. The bones were discovered about 15 feet off a little-used path amid brush and near railroad tracks that run parallel to Interstate 680.

DNA tests and dental-record matching, which could take up to a week to finish, will be necessary to confirm whether the body is fact Le's, a coroner's office spokesman said.

Elise Scarlott, 21, lives with her family in a ranch house not far from where the body was found. It's the only house there on Verona Road, about a half-mile off the 680 Interstate in a quiet, largely isolated neighborhood near the Sunol-Pleasanton border.

Scarlott said teams searched the area a couple months ago, but that her family was not involved or informed about much. On Saturday, she estimated, about 100 people turned out to search again.

The body was removed from the area Saturday night, and more than two dozen trained search and rescue volunteers went out again Sunday morning to perform one more search for evidence left behind by either the victim or the suspect, Nelson said.

Contact Sean Maher at 510-208-6430.

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