Authorities have found the body of a 5-year-old California boy missing since April, when he was last seen leaving Disneyland with his father, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Saturday.
Homicide detectives found the remains of Aramazd Andressian Jr. on Friday near Lake Cachuma, about 20 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, officials said. The child’s father, Aramazd Andressian, 35, was arrested June 23 and charged with murder in the boy’s death.
Based on leads, detectives had returned to the area “in an effort to locate additional evidence,” the sheriff’s department said. No additional information would be released Saturday, a sheriff’s spokesman told The Washington Post.
The discovery marks a grim end to a mystery that had plagued Southern California. Video footage captured the pair leaving Disneyland early April 21, according to the sheriff’s department. The elder Andressian was found passed out at a park near his South Pasadena home on April 22; his car was soaked in gasoline, and prescription drugs were discovered nearby, authorities said.
Police detained Andressian after he gave “convoluted and contradictory” statements. “The father was … not very forthcoming with information, was not very specific on his timeline, where he was with the child, where he was when the child was lost,” South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller told reporters then.
But Andressian was set free within a few days because there was not enough evidence to prosecute him, authorities said. He later released a statement through his attorney, claiming he did not know what happened to his son.
The child’s anguished relatives continued searching for him. Aramazd’s mother, Ana Estevez, held an emotional news conference with law enforcement officials May 17, pleading for the safe return of the 5-year-old. The estranged couple were in the process of divorcing and had shared custody of their son.
— LA County Sheriff’s (@LASDHQ) June 23, 2017
On June 23 in Las Vegas, authorities arrested Andressian and charged him with murder in Aramazd’s death. Officials did not elaborate on what additional evidence led them to arrest Andressian for a second time.
The Los Angeles Times reported that detectives had searched Andressian’s home, as well as the child’s grandmother’s home in Montebello, Calif.
Andressian voluntarily waived extradition back to Los Angeles at a hearing last week in Las Vegas, telling the judge, “If California wants me, they can come get me,” according to CBS Los Angeles. He was extradited Friday to California and is being held on $10 million bail, the sheriff’s department said.
The South Pasadena Police Department, which assisted in the investigation, tweeted Saturday that its officers were heartbroken at the news that the young boy’s body had been found.
Little Aramazd “Piqui” Andressian’s body found at Lake Cachuma. Mom responded to my text of condolences with pic.twitter.com/uzYLB4jd7p
— Alys Martinez (@KEYTNC3Alys) July 1, 2017