Police believe they have found the body of a woman gone missing for five months after discovering a woman’s body encased in a concrete wooden structure in the middle of the Las Vegas desert.
Relatives reported Esmeralda Gonzalez, 24, as missing on May 31 after they did not hear from her for several days.
But on Wednesday, Las Vegas police revealed they found a body that is believed to be Gonzalez encased in a wooden box filled with concrete and buried in the desert. The body has yet to be identified officially.
Authorities announced two suspects who have been arrested in connection with Gonzalez’s murder— Christopher Prestipino, 45, and his girlfriend Lisa Mort, 31, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“Prestipino rented a U-Haul, and the victim’s body was dumped in the desert,” the prosecutor wrote in court documents obtained by the Review-Journal. “Prestipino and [another suspect in the case Cassandra] Garrett have been panicked because they left the rented U-Haul dolly at the body dump location.”
Investigators say they received a tip that Prestipino was involved with Gonzalez’s disappearance in July, later determining that Gonzalez was held against her will inside his home before the alleged murder.
Investigators also determined that Mort allegedly assisted Prestipino and had knowledge of what went on. Both suspects are being held at the Clark County Detention Center.
Prestipino is facing charges of open murder, first-degree kidnapping resulting in substantial bodily harm, and conspiracy murder, KTNV reported. He was denied bond at his arraignment hearing.
Mort faces charges for covering up the crime and is due in court on October 29.
The Clark County coroner’s office is working to identify family members of the woman’s body before confirming the identity of the victim. The Associated Press reported that the coroner could not identify the cause of death.