LAS VEGAS, NV (KTNV) — Las Vegas police believe a woman who went missing back in May was strangled and injected with a poisonous substance, according to court documents released on Wednesday.
45-year-old Christopher Prestipino is accused by police of kidnapping and killing 24-year-old Esmeralda Gonzalez, according to a criminal complaint filed in court.
On Oct. 8, police found a body located in a concrete and wooden structure in a desert area north of Las Vegas.
The body has not been identified by authorities, but police say Prestipino faces charges for open murder in that case and that the victim was held against her will in Prestipino’s home.
Newly-obtained court documents painting a narrative of how it all went down.
It begins with Gozalez’s brother reporting her missing on May 31, after trying to check on her, finding her home a mess inside.
The document says she was last seen the day before — first at a nearby car dealership and then on a home surveillance camera in that area. The document says that the victim “was dressed only in lingerie and high heels.”
Investigators also uncovered emails with specific details regarding Gonzalez’s killing.
Detectives say Prestipino was also seen on security camera at a Home Depot in the southwest valley on June 6, purchasing five 60-pound bags of concrete mix.
Police also interviewed a suspected accomplice, Cassandra Garrett, who “was defensive, argumentative and denied any knowledge of the missing person/homicide investigation” according to documents.
Garrett was allegedly seen “cleaning up” in the garage of Prestipino’s home.
Folks living across the street were shocked to learn about the potential horrors that took place just feet away.
“Just the thought of someone going through something like that, especially how he killed her, it’s insane,” says one neighbor.
Police believe 31-year-old Lisa Mort had knowledge of what had occurred and assisted Prestipino.
In July, 13 Action News spoke to Gonzalez’s brother, Juan Gonzalez, who said he was worried about his missing sister and that she suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In the weeks leading up to her disappearance he says she was off her medications.
“We feel it’s very important for the public to understand how vulnerable she is,” Gonzalez said at the time.
The documents also name a co-conspirator, Cassandra Garrett, in Gonzalez’s murder.
Prestipino has been charged with First Degree Kidnapping, Conspiracy to Commit Murder and Murder.
He is being held without bail at Clark County Detention Center and is expected in court on Oct. 22.
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