Man sentenced for murder of Las Vegas woman found encased in concrete

Posted at 12:22 PM, April 27, 2023 and last updated 12:22 PM, April 27, 2023

By: Jarah Wright

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A man accused of killing a Las Vegas woman and encasing her body in a concrete structure in the desert has been sentenced to spend 10 to 25 years in jail.

A judge handed down the sentence on Tuesday.

Christopher Prestipino mugshot

FILE – Christopher Prestipino (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

Court records show that Christopher Prestipino reached a guilty plea agreement on March 13 and has been found guilty of kidnapping, murder, and conspiracy to commit murder charges.

This is related to the death of 24-year-old Esmeralda Gonzalez, whose family reported her missing on May 31, 2019.

At the time, her brother told KTNV they were concerned about her since she had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

“It’s not like her to go missing like this. It’s very shocking to us,” Juan Gonzalez said at the time. “We don’t know where she could be. We don’t know why she would leave.”

Gonzalez’s body was found in a concrete and wooden structure in the desert north of Las Vegas on Oct. 8, 2019.

According to an arrest report, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department received an anonymous tip on July 18, 2019 that Prestipino and his friend Cassandra Garrett killed Gonzalez.

Homicide detectives said Gonzalez lived a tenth of a mile east of Prestipino, which is basically the same street, and that he called her over because he needed help with something.

Esmeralda Gonzalez graduation photo

FILE – Esmeralda Gonzalez (The Gonzalez family via KTNV)

A witness told police Prestipino gave methamphetamine to Gonzalez, who then started acting “bizarre and speaking in the devil’s tongue,” the report states. She threatened to call the police over the drugs, and that’s when police said Prestipino tied Gonzalez to a chair to try and calm her down.

The arrest report states Prestipino strangled her and possibly injected her with pool cleaner.

Between June 8 and June 10, 2019, investigators say Prestipino rented a U-Haul. A witness told police he had a large wooden and concrete structure into it, according to the report.

He was also spotted at Home Depot picking up deck screws, WD-40, five 60-pound bags of Quikrete concrete mix, a 50-pound bag of type S lime, and eight concrete fence cap blocks, investigators noted in the report.

Prestipino was arrested at the airport on Oct. 11, 2019. Police said he was returning to Las Vegas from Belize.

Prestipino’s girlfriend, Lisa Mort, was also charged in this case. She reached a guilty plea agreement in 2020 and was sentenced as an accessory to murder.

This story was originally published April 26 by KTNV in Las Vegas, an E.W. Scripps Company.