Pregnant Pinay arraigned for murder in US

by Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Sep 13 2011 07:43 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2011 03:43 AM

HAYWARD, California - A pregnant Filipina who has been charged with murder failed to enter a plea in the Alameda Superior Court.

Judge Gary Picetti said the suspect, Giselle Diwag Esteban, 27, had pregnancy-related issues that prevented her from appearing in court.

It took police months to make an arrest but they are confident that Esteban is behind the killing of nursing student Michelle Le, 26, despite the absence of a body, a murder weapon and witnesses to the alleged murder. Le has not been seen since May.

Esteban was formally arraigned in court Friday but failed to enter a plea. Le and Esteban were friends from high school.

Esteban is pregnant and in her third trimester. She has complained of contractions, causing her to miss court on Thursday.

“She’s not the first person that we’ve had in jail that’s pregnant. It does happen on occasion,” Sergeant JD Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Dept. said. “They do get extra nutritional items and medicine that we have to provide. But as far as a get-out-jail-card; that’s not the case.”

Scott Marasigan, Esteban’s ex-boyfriend and father of her 5-year-old daughter, attended the arraignment.

Marasigan has complained of Esteban’s erratic behavior in the past, taking out a restraining order against her just days before Le’s disappearance.

It is unconfirmed if Marasigan is the father of Esteban’s unborn child.

A love triangle of sorts reportedly exists between Marasigan and the two women.

A source close to Marasigan claims that he reportedly went out on a few dates with Le, even before he dated and fathered a child with Esteban. Esteban had in the past expressed to the media that she resented Le’s friendship with Marasigan.

For his part, Marasigan said he was at court “to support the Le family.”

Le’s family said they just want answers.

Le’s brother, Michael, said: “We want to focus on bringing Michelle home. We don’t want to focus on the (alleged murder) case. We want to find Michelle.”

Esteban waived her right to appear in court. But she is due back in court next Monday when she is expected to enter a plea.