Missing 24-year-old woman's body found in concrete in desert, man arrested
A 45-year-old man has been arrested for murder after police found the body of a Nevada woman who had been missing for nearly five months.
Esmeralda Gonzalez, 24 disappeared in Las Vegas on May 31, according to KSNV-TV. Nearly two months later, police were able to determine that Gonzalez had been inside the house of Christopher Prestipino around the time she went missing.
Officers received an anonymous tip that Prestipino was involved in the crime but weren't able to confirm anything until October, when they discovered Gonzalez's body. The 24-year-old was found in the Nevada desert, encased inside a concrete and wooden structure.
Prestipino was arrested last Friday, three days after Gonzalez's body was located. He now faces charges of open murder, kidnapping 1st degree resulting in substantial bodily harm and conspiracy murder.
Court documents state that Prestipino injected Gonzalez with pool cleaner, then rented a U-Haul truck to help dump the body. Las Vegas prosecutors identified another suspect, Cassandra Bascones, who they say had knowledge of the murder and helped Prestipino hide the evidence.
“Prestipino rented a U-Haul, and the victim’s body was dumped in the desert," court documents obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal state. "Prestipino and Garrett have been panicked because they left the rented U-Haul dolly at the body dump location."
Gonzalez, who reportedly worked in the adult entertainment industry, lived less than a mile from Prestipino's home. She was reported missing after her brother, who said he hadn't seen her in a week, went to her house and found the place "ransacked."
The anonymous person who tipped police off in July said Gonzalez had been at Prestipino's house using methamphetamine when the murder occurred. Gonzalez allegedly began "acting bizarre" from the drugs, then threatened to call the police on Prestipino.
The 45-year-old then allegedly tied Gonzalez to a bedpost before eventually killing her, court documents claim.
Police also charged Prestipino's girlfriend, Lisa Mort, with a number of charges related to the case. Mort, who is now in custody as well, allegedly had knowledge of the crime, according to KSNV.
Authorities are still waiting to officially identify the body as Gonzalez, using DNA testing.