HAYWARD -- The 26-year-old Union City woman facing murder charges in the death of nursing student Michelle Le recently gave birth while in custody, according to her attorney.

Andrea Auer said her client, Giselle Esteban, "had a healthy baby," but did not want any further details divulged about the child.

Esteban briefly appeared at the Hayward Hall of Justice on Friday, when she was scheduled to enter a plea. However, Auer said she needed more time to go over evidence, and Esteban was ordered to return to court on Jan. 6.

The baby is Esteban's second child. The first, a 6-year-old girl, remains in the custody of the father, Scott Marasigan, who filed a restraining order against Esteban three days before Le's disappearance on May 27.

In the restraining order, Marasigan described behavior that had become increasingly erratic after being granted 80 percent custody of their daughter late last year. He wrote that his family is "very concerned that she is trying to take our daughter."

Marasigan was a friend of Le's, and Esteban told news outlets days after the disappearance that while she hates Le and blames her for ruining the relationship she had with Marasigan, she had nothing to do with the case.

She also told reporters that she was pregnant with Marasigan's second child. Marasigan has declined to comment on that, citing advice from the Alameda County District Attorney's Office to not speak about the case.

He has said that Esteban mischaracterized his relationship with Le, and that they were no more than close friends.

Marasigan said Friday that he is not seeking custody of Esteban's new baby.

Legal analyst Steven Clark said it's "highly unusual" for someone facing a potential life sentence to have a newborn and that it could "raise a lot of ethical and difficult questions for the court" involving issues of visitation, breast-feeding and the well-being of the child.

Esteban, 27, and Le, 26, were one-time friends who grew up together in San Diego.

Le, who lived in San Mateo, disappeared while on a break from her duties at a Hayward hospital on May 27. Her body was found by a search team on Sept. 17 in the rural area near the Sunol-Pleasanton border, just steps away from a dirt road.

Esteban was arrested on Sept. 7, with investigators citing surveillance footage from the hospital's garage, Le's DNA on one of Esteban's shoes and cellphone records as key pieces of evidence in the case.

Contact Eric Kurhi at 510-293-2473. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi. Read his blog at IBAbuzz.com/hayword.

The Michelle le trial
Prosecutors claim that Giselle Esteban killed Michelle Le and then dumped her body in a remote area.