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2 others indicted in death of woman found in concrete

Two more suspects have been indicted in the disappearance and death of Esmeralda Gonzalez, a 24-year-old model whose body was found last month encased in a cement structure in the desert.

The indictments against Casandra Garrett and Lisa Mort were returned by a grand jury Friday, nearly a month after their alleged co-conspirator, 46-year-old Christopher Prestipino, was indicted on murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges.

Authorities have said that Garrett, 39, was the man’s roommate, and that Mort, 31, is his girlfriend. The trio remained in custody at the Clark County Detention Center as of Friday afternoon, according to jail records.

Garrett, who was extradited to Nevada after her capture in Milwaukee, faces identical charges as Prestipino, while Mort faces one count of harboring, concealing or aiding a felon.

Mort reportedly tried to warn Prestipino that Las Vegas homicide detectives were investigating Gonzalez’s death. She had been in the county jail on an unrelated charge when detectives paid her a visit.

A prosecutor on Friday said that Mort denied knowing anything about the woman at the time, but then called Prestipino and told him, “I just got some visitors. Go, baby, go. That’s all I can say.”

The indictments eliminate the need for a preliminary hearing and takes their cases directly to the trial court level.

Prestipino and Garrett, the alleged masterminds behind the death, took extensive measures to hide the woman’s body after Prestipino strangled her and injected her with pool cleaner, according to court papers previously obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Gonzalez lived about one-tenth of a mile from Prestipino’s home at 9501 Iron Cactus Ave. Her brother reported her missing May 31 after he had not seen her for a week, and after he found the lights inside her home still on with the front door unlocked.

In the pre-dawn hours of May 31, the woman was captured on residential surveillance video wandering on the 9000 block of West Torino Avenue, less than two-tenths of a mile from Prestipino’s home. She was without her cellphone and keys, and appeared disoriented, police have said.

She eventually turned west on Torino Avenue onto Market Height Street, which led to Prestipino’s street.

Her body was found Oct. 8 in a desert area west of Interstate 15 and Hidden Valley Road in Moapa, according to the Clark County coroner’s office, which could not ultimately determine her cause of death.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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