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Roommates Behind Bars in Connection with Las Vegas Model Found Dead After She Was Injected with Pool Cleaner

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Jun. 9 2024, Published 1:01 p.m. ET

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A Nevada man will spend 10 to 25 years in prison for kidnapping and murdering a model through methamphetamine, strangulation, an injection of pool cleaner and cement.

Christopher Prestipino, 50, recently was sentenced in the May 2019 kidnapping and killing of Esmeralda Gonzalez in Las Vegas. He's already spent more than four years behind bars.

Police say Prestipino was part of a group of people that kidnapped Gonzalez. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Prestipino gave Gonzalez meth at his home, then tied her up in his bedroom to choke her.

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Then someone injected pool cleaner into Gonzalez's body. Exactly who did that was in dispute.

Police believe Prestipino was helped in the injection by roommate Casandra Garrett. But Prestipino's attorneys filed a motion claiming Garrett has admitted to performing the injection.

Gonzalez, 24, was missing for five months before her body was found in the southern Nevada desert. It was inside a water tank and encased in cement.


Prestipino accepted a plea deal for second-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. It came on the day his trial was scheduled to start, with attorneys saying he wanted to avoid a life sentence.

Garret had already pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon, and she was sentenced to serve between eight and 20 years behind bars, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“I do regret ever meeting the co-defendant,” Prestipino said of Garrett during his sentencing hearing.

A third suspect in Gonzalez's death, Lisa Mort, pleaded guilty in 2020 to being an accessory to murder. KLAS-TV reports she was Prestipino's girlfriend. Mort spent eight months in prison before being paroled.

The National Library of Medicine warns pool cleaner can be poisonous, especially due to chlorine, even if someone only touches it.


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