On Friday, more than two months after his young son went missing following a day trip to Disneyland, a California man was charged with the 5-year-old boy’s murder.
On Monday, authorities addressed a possible motive for the alleged crime before detailing the evidence leading to the father’s arrest in Las Vegas.
Detectives claim that a “tumultuous divorce” from his estranged wife drove 35-year-old Aramazd Andressian Sr. to kill his son, Aramazd Andressian Jr.
“Investigators believe this was a pre-planned event,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide Lt. Joe Mendoza told reporters at a news conference.
Mendoza said investigators have spent the weeks since Aramazd went missing tracking his dads’ movements. In recent weeks, detectives noticed that Andressian had shaved his beard and lightened his hair color.
Mendoza further alleged that Andressian was arranging a trip to a country where he could avoid extradition back to America. He did not disclose what led investigators to believe Andressian was planning to flee or to which country he allegedly planned to visit.
Authorities have said Andressian’s statements to them about his son’s disappearance were “inconsistent” and “misleading.” According to Mendoza, Andressian has not been acting like the father of a missing child: He told reporters that Andressian has spent the last 47 days back and forth between California and Las Vegas, where he has been “socializing.”
Aramazd’s body has not been found, but investigators continue their search.
Andressian is being held in Nevada on $10 million bail and will be extradited to California to face a single murder count. His attorney, Daniel Nardoni, could not immediately be reached for comment, but Nardoni told the Pasadena Star-News he was “shocked and surprised” by the charge.
“Particularly when you have someone, a client, who’s adamant that he does not know the whereabouts of his son, nor did he do anything to harm him,” Nardoni told the paper.
During Monday’s news conference, a statement was read aloud from Aramazd’s mother, Ana Estevez, who had nicknamed him “Picqui.”
“It is with deepest and most profound sadness that I want to thank the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, along with the many other agencies and volunteers who have worked and will continue to work diligently to find my son,” Estevez said.
“In a presentation to the South Pasadena City Council, I shared that it only takes 30 seconds to fall in love with my son,” her statement continued.
“Although most have never met Picqui, it is immensely clear that he has touched your lives in a positive and heartfelt way. My heart is shattered and I will miss my son immensely each and every second of every day for the rest of my life. Picqui was everything great in my life, and I cannot imagine the emptiness and the void that I will bear until we are together again someday. I am eternally grateful for detectives, family, friends and volunteers who loved my Picqui as much as I do.”
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Authorities say Andressian and Aramazd were last seen late on April 20 when they visited Disneyland in Anaheim, California. They left the theme park around midnight.
According to officials Andressian and his wife, Ana Estevez, were embroiled in a bitter divorce, but they shared custody of their son.
Within a week of the boy’s disappearance, police arrested his dad on suspicion of one count of child endangerment and one count of child abduction. But they released him days later, citing “insufficient evidence.”
Aramazd was supposed to be dropped off by his father in San Marino, California, on April 22 — but the elder Andressian failed to show. Instead, he was found passed out near his car in a nearby park.
Police have alleged that the inside of his car was doused with gasoline and there were matches in his vehicle.
Andressian told investigators he believed he was attacked, but he had no memory of the assault. He also told police he had taken some prescription medication that morning before falling unconscious, CNN reports.