Two individuals have been arrested in connection with the death of Esmeralda Gonzalez (above, insert) — whose body may have been found encased in concrete inside a wooden box in the Las Vegas desert.
Christopher Prestipino (above, far left) was booked for the 24-year-old’s murder, while Lisa Mort (above, far right) was accused of helping him cover it up.
The model — who reportedly worked in the adult entertainment industry, and had more than 300,000 Instagram followers — disappeared May 31.
Per alleged residential surveillance video, Gonzalez — wearing lingerie and heels — was seen trying to open the door of a home around 300 yards from where Prestipino lived.
The residents inside told her she was at the wrong house, and later shared with police her “gait was unsteady and she appeared disoriented.”
Allegedly, she then walked in the direction of Prestipino’s property.
After not hearing from her for a week, Esmeralda’s brother filed a missing persons report. When he went to her home, he found the lights on, and noticed the place looked ransacked.
(He also said his sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and had been off her medication for weeks before her disappearance.)
In late July, police received a tip Prestipino might have killed Gonzalez. Additionally, another witness said Prestipino told a friend “he killed the missing girl.”
According to Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly, the tipster told detectives:
“Esmeralda was at Christopher’s house, and he ended up getting her high on methamphetamine… Christopher was not aware of Esmeralda’s mental problems, and she started acting bizarre and speaking in the devil’s tongue.”
Per court papers, Gonzalez was “left tied up to a bedpost for an extended period of time.” Allegedly, when Prestipino untied her, she punched him in the face, which led to him trying to strangle her.
“He thought she was dead, but she woke up.”
Police believe she was then poisoned with pool cleaner.
Afterward, in early June, Prestipino allegedly called a family friend “because he needed help” moving a wooden box full of concrete into a U-Haul truck.
Though prosecutors believe Cassandra Bascones — also known as Cassandra Garrett, Cassandra Tran, and Nikki Hart — was potentially involved, she has not yet been arrested.
After allegedly dumping the body, Prestipino snuck away to Belize, but later returned to Vegas where he was arrested. In addition to charges of murder, he is facing first-degree kidnapping resulting in substantial bodily harm and conspiracy to commit murder. He is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.
Mort faces a charge of harboring, concealing, or aiding a felon. Though she claims to not know anything about Gonzalez’s disappearance, while in jail for an unrelated drug case, she was warned by Prestipino in a recorded call “not to speak with anyone” and “to wipe her phone.”
The Clark County coroner’s office have yet to officially identify Gonzalez’s remains.
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