Glamour Model Esmeralda Gonzalez Found Encased In Concrete In Las Vegas Desert — What We Know

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How Did Esmeralda Gonzalez Die? New Details On Glamour Model Whose Body Found Encased In Concrete In Las Vegas Desert

Esmeralda Gonzalez disappeared without a trace five months ago. As is always the case with these sorts of disappearances, everyone's first thought went to a dark and dangerous place — especially given her line of work. So when a body was found encased in concrete in the Las Vegas desert, people's worst fears were confirmed. But how did Esmeralda Gonzalez die? 

As has been stated from the beginning, American society has never been kind to its women. In fact, no matter how many social strides we, as a country, say we're making, we're actually seeing more violence against women, not less. The Violence Policy Center culled statistics from the FBI and found that, in 2015, 1,450 women were killed by an intimate partner, and these statistics do not include women who were killed by former boyfriends/husbands or casual acquaintances. What's more, a study conducted by the American Psychological Association reports that 74% of all murder-suicides are committed by men and their victims are their female domestic partner(s) and their children.

When one factors in the statistics of violence against adult performers/models and sex workers, the numbers become even grimmer. Violence against adult performers/models and sex workers in the United States is such a problem, in fact, that the World Health Organization declared it an international human rights crisis. Despite this obvious problem, The Huffington Post reports that police often refuse to investigate violence against these victims. What's more, only two states — New York and Ohio — protect these victims with the so-called "rape shield," meaning that in 48 states, a victim's past or present adult/sex work can be used to assassinate their character. This, combined with judges and juries tending to be prejudiced against adult/sex workers, means that more and more adult/sex workers are becoming victims of violent crimes...crimes which, unfortunately, go unreported, if the victims even survive. 

Esmeralda Gonzalez is yet another victim of this type of violence. Let's look at what we know about her murder. 

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1. The nightmare began on May 31st. 

According to The Sun, the nightmare surrounding Esmeralda Gonzalez began on May 31st when Esmeralda's brother went to her house in Las Vegas and found it "ransacked." The outlet reports that he immediately began calling the police and demanding that they help find his sister, who was suffering from a host of mental health issues. 

2. Police initially had their eye on another suspect. 

According to KTNV-TV, around the two-month mark of Esmeralda Gonzalez's disappearance, police began interrogating another man who was believed to have given her a ride. The outlet, who reported that she was disoriented from being off her anti-psychotic medication, then said that after a thorough investigation, police determined that the man had "nothing to do" with Esmeralda Gonzalez's disappearance. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Esmeralda Merlot (@esmeralda_merlot) on May 11, 2019 at 12:48pm PDT

3. Esmeralda Gonzalez's neighbor kidnapped and tortured her. 

According to a different report for KTNV-TV, just yesterday, it was revealed that the body found in the Las Vegas desert, encased in concrete, was that of Esmeralda Gonzalez. The outlet also reports that before she was killed, her neighbor kidnapped her and tortured her by injecting her with methamphetamine and pool chlorinator. 

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4. DNA identified the body in the desert as that of Esmeralda Gonzalez.

Fox News reports that it took a DNA test to determine that the body found encased in concrete in the Las Vegas desert was that of Esmeralda Gonzalez. The outlet also reports that Esmeralda — who went by Esmeralda Merlot on Instagram — was a popular adult glamour model in the Las Vegas area, and had more than 300,000 followers. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Esmeralda Merlot (@esmeralda_merlot) on May 3, 2019 at 5:21am PDT

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5. The neighbor, Christopher Prestipino, was arrested, as was his accomplice. 

"Prosecutors said another woman, Cassandra Garrett, is also believed to have helped Prestipino carry out the killing. Prestipino is believed to have previously been captured by surveillance footage purchasing concrete mix at a Home Depot around the time of Gonzalez’s disappearance. “Prestipino rented a U-Haul, and the victim’s body was dumped in the desert,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly wrote in court documents," according to Oxygen

6. He was arrested after a tipster said he confessed to killing Esmeralda Gonzalez. 

According to Radar, Christopher Prestipino and his co-conspirator are currently being held on charges of open murder, kidnapping in the 1st degree resulting in substantial bodily harm and conspiracy murder. His co-conspirator is being held on charges of harbor/conceal/aiding a felony offender. If convicted, they face life in prison. 

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.