Authorities in California believe a missing 5-year-old boy last seen in late April was murdered by his father, who was detained last week in Las Vegas in connection with his son’s death, PEOPLE confirms.
Homicide detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department apprehended 35-year-old Aramazd Andressian Sr. on Friday afternoon, according to a statement obtained by PEOPLE. His son, Aramazd Andressian Jr. — or his son’s body — has not been found.
Andressian is held on $10 million bail and is being extradited to California to face a single murder count. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Authorities say Andressian and Aramazd were last seen on April 20 when they visited Disneyland in Anaheim, California. They left the theme park around midnight.
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.” It was not immediately clear Monday what prompted his re-arrest.
Officials confirm that Andressian and his wife, Ana Estevez, are embroiled in a bitter divorce, but they shared custody of their son.
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.
“There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the timeline around his disappearance,” Andressian wrote in a statement issued nearly a week after his son vanished. “The last time I saw my son was on Saturday morning, the 22nd, at Arroyo Park near my home in South Pasadena. After breakfast Aramazd Jr. wanted to go to the park before we were to meet his mother for a custody exchange at 9:00 a.m.”
“In one moment, I was at the park with my son, and then I found myself waking up in Huntington Memorial Hospital hours later,” he continued. “I was told that a good Samaritan found me unconscious on the ground near my car, with young Aramazd nowhere in sight. I can only speculate that I must have been attacked in the park, given my unresponsive state and subsequent physical condition.
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“My family and I are heartbroken and grief-stricken that Aramazd Jr. is missing and may be in harm’s way,” the statement concludes. “I am pleading with the public to come forward with any knowledge of Aramazd Jr.’s whereabouts or information regarding the circumstances leading up to his disappearance.”
Estevez has also spoken publicly, pleading for the public’s help at a May news conference with law enforcement.
“There are no words to describe how devastated and heartbroken I am,” Estevez said through tears, before speaking directly to Aramazd. “To my son, this message is for you my love: Be brave, honey. Don’t ever forget that mama loves you to the moon and the stars. I am counting the days until I see you honey, and I will never stop looking for you.”
“To those who are concealing my son, I pray every day that God will touch your heart and guide you to do the right thing and return my son,” she said.
Anyone with any information about this ongoing case can call the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department at 323-890-5500 or police in South Pasadena, California, at 626-403-7297.