Esmeralda Gonzalez was a 24-year-old Las Vegas woman who authorities believe was injected with pool cleaner and strangled to death by a man under arrest, who is then accused of burying her in the desert, according to KTNV and the Review Journal.
Horrifically, authorities say Gonzalez’s body was discovered buried inside a “concrete and wooden structure” in a desert area near Las Vegas, according to The Review Journal, which reports that Christopher Prestipino, a 45-year-old felon, is now accused of murdering her. Lisa Mort, 31, is accused of being a co-conspirator. You can read more about Prestipino here. He’s a casino stagehand.
The body was discovered October 8, 2019, months after Gonzalez, 24, was reported missing. The newspaper describes Gonzalez as working “in the adult entertainment industry.” Her Instagram page, reviewed by Heavy, shows she had more than 300,000 followers and filled her page with scantily clad glamour shots. Another woman is accused of participating in the killing but has not been arrested, The Review Journal reported.
For months, Gonzalez’s family had led a determined effort to find her, turning to Facebook and the news media to highlight the disappearance. The family wrote on a Facebook page devoted to finding Esmeralda:
“Daughter & sister.
We miss her smile.
We miss her laugh.
We miss her bubbly energy.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Believe That Prestipino Held Gonzalez in His Home Against Her Will
A missing person’s photo for Gonzalez said that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police was asking for the public’s assistance to locate a missing adult, age 24. She was described as a Hispanic female standing 5 foot tall. She was last seen in the area of Durango and Peble, the police noted. That was before the arrests.
“On May 31st she walked out of her front door and hasn’t been seen since. Please share with your friends and family,” a Facebook page devoted to finding her wrote before Gonzalez’s body was believed to have been likely discovered in what the Gazette Journal described as a “homemade concrete and wooden structure.”
The Review Journal reports that police were led to Prestipino by an anonymous tip and believe he kidnapped Gonzalez and held her against her will. He lived in the 9000 block of Iron Cactus Avenue and was visited by detectives in July but it’s not clear why, the newspaper reported.
He has drug cases on his criminal history, including one for manufacturing meth. Mort is accused of harboring, concealing or aiding a felon. Prestipino is accused of murder and kidnapping.
Here are the mugshots for Prestipino and Lisa Mort, an alleged co-conspirator.
Mort also has a drug history.
2. Gonzalez, Who Was From Mexico, Wrote That Life Without Dreaming Is Devoid of Meaning
On Facebook, Gonzalez wrote that a “life without dreaming is a life without meaning.” She studied at UNLV and was from Michoacán, Mexico, she wrote on Facebook, adding that she was married. Her page is also full of glamour shots.
In 2017, she wrote on Facebook, “Yesterday was a great day, got to meet Harry Ruiz and the rest of the news anchors at Telemundo. ?”
Posts on the Facebook page devoted to finding her indicated that Gonzalez was a “dear daughter, sister, friend and student of UNLV” who suffered from “schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.”
3. Gonzalez’s Brother Created the Facebook Page Devoted to Finding Her
The Facebook page devoted to finding her was called “Find Esmeralda Gonzalez.” It said that she was missing since May 31, 2019. It was created by Juan Gonzalez Madera, Gonzalez’s brother.
He told Fox5Vegas that it had “been an absolute nightmare not knowing where she is. We’re just worried about her everyday, constantly thinking about her.”
In September 2019, the page noted: “Esmeralda has been missing for 99 days. Our page was temporarily down to attempt to give Esmeralda’s family a break from the emotional toll of this experience. Thank you everyone for your positive wishes and continued concern.”
Esmeralda’s cousin, Michael McVoy, was tragically killed “after being struck by a vehicle in Las Vegas. Esme and Micheal grew up together and were very close. He would visit Esme’s family to offer his support as they continue to deal with her disappearance. He was kind, loving, and compassionate. His family and friends are devastated,” the page recently revealed.
4. Gonzalez’s Family Says She Was in Fragile Mental Health & She Was Seen Walking Around Dressed Only in Lingerie & High Heels
Gonzalez was described by the Facebook page devoted to finding her as being in fragile mental health in the days leading up to her murder.
“In the days before her disappearance, Esmeralda experienced multiple psychological episodes…she’s extremely vulnerable. We miss the friendly and cheerful presence of Esmeralda. Her family desperately seeks answers about his whereabouts,” the page wrote before she was found.
KTNV reported that Gonzalez was last seen the day before she disappeared at a car dealership and later on a home surveillance camera. She was “dressed only in lingerie and high heels” and acted “dispirited,” the television station reported.
According to the Review Journal, Gonzalez was seen walking around in that outfit asking for a ride and then tried to open a door to a home but was advised by the homeowners that she was at the wrong house. A witness claimed she went to Prestipino’s house and did methamphetamine, the newspaper reported. He’s then accused of renting a U-Haul to bury her body, becoming frantic when he and another woman allegedly left a dolly there. At one point, he is accused of tying her to a bedpost after she threatened to tell police about the drugs.
5. Neighbors Remembered Gonzalez as Sweet & ‘Very Nice’
People in the neighborhood had fond memories of Gonzalez.
“She was very sweet, very nice,” said neighbor Janice Zeno to 8NewsNow. “She had a cute little toy poodle, and she would sit out on the little bench there and she would just, just was very pleasant every time we would speak.”
Her Instagram page described her as:
“? BA in Communication
? Real Estate Investor
? Paid shoots only.”
Her Instagram page showed her in multiple scantily clad photos.
According to KTNV, authorities allege that Prestipino was seen “purchasing 5 60 pound bags of concrete mix.”