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Dog named after slain child finds Michelle Le's remains

The San Diego woman who found the remains of Michelle Le over the weekend is talking about her experience.

Carrie McGonigle knows what it is like to lose a child. Her daughter Amber DuBois was killed in 2009 and her body wasn't discovered until 2010.

In the wake of that horror, McGonigle formed a rescue organization called "Team Amber Rescue" as a way to cope with her loss and to help other parents who are going through the disappearance of a child. She traveled to the Bay Area to help the Le family search for their daughter Michelle late last week.

One of the members of McGonigle's search team was a yellow lab named, Amber, after her slain daughter.

In a press conference Wednesday, McGonigle said before the search began in Sunol Canyon, the dog darted off. When McGonigle caught up with the animal, she said she was at the site of the remains. It happened just that fast. She said she didn't know what she had found at first. She reported the discovery to the detective who was with the group and continued on to search other areas of the canyon.

FILE - This undated handout file photo provided by the Hayward Police Department shows 26-year-old female nursing student Michelle Le, who disappeared May 27, 2011, from a Hayward, Calif., hospital during a break in a clinical lesson. Badly decomposed human remains found in a San Francisco Bay area canyon are those of Le, Hayward police said Monday night, Sept. 19, 2011. Police said the coroner has not yet determined Le's cause or manner of death, and declined to release any further information. (AP Photo/Hayward Police Department, File)

McGonigle said that she wasn't planning on attending the search for Le, because she didn't think she was emotionally prepared, however, she eventually decided to go.

McGonigle said she feels as though a higher power led her to Le's body.

She also noted that Amber the dog is not officially certified as a search animal and still needs a year's worth of training.

McGonigle's daughter was murdered by convicted killer John Gardner in 2009. Her body was not found until the killer made a deal with the parents of another child he killed in 2010. He said he would tell prosecutors where Amber's body was, if they did not seek the death penalty against him. Chelsea King's parents agreed, giving Amber's family closure.

Now McGonigle is able to give another family closure.

Le’s remains were found in a remote area of Niles Canyon. The location is the general area where GPS tracking showed the cell phones of both Le and the prime suspect in the case, Giselle Esteban, traveled the night Le disappeared on May 27.

The Le family, along with Marc Klass' Kids Foundation, had conducted several searches hoping to find clues to the case. Marc Klass, who also lost a daughter in a horrible crime, said parents like himself and McGonigle know what it is like not to have closure. He told NBC Bay Area on Sunday that getting closure is key to a parent's healing.

McGonigle said she didn't want her role in the story to be announced right away, because she said the Le family had enough to deal with and she didn't want to take away anything from their grieving by having people talk about who found the body. She said she didn't want to be part of the story in respect for them.