A "tumultuous divorce" led a California man to kill his 5-year-old son in April, investigators said Monday, three days after 35-year-old Aramazd Andressian Sr. was arrested and charged with murder even though his missing son has not been confirmed dead.
Andressian was arrested on one count of murder on Friday and will be arraigned in Los Angeles later this week, where he will face 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Andressian remains in custody and neither he nor his attorney commented publicly Monday, according to local media reports.
His son, Aramazd Andressian Jr., has been missing since he was last seen leaving Disneyland with his father during a weekend outing in April
"My heart is shattered," Ana Estevez, the missing child's mother, wrote in a statement read by a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff at Monday's news conference. "I will miss my son each and every second of every day for the rest of my life."
Investigators: Mounting evidence
The boy was last seen leaving Disneyland with his father after midnight on April 21. Hours later, the father was found unconscious in a South Pasadena park without his son, saying he did not remember what happened.
After being questioned by police, Andressian spent 47 days in Las Vegas, according to authorities. While there, he shaved the beard he had grown and dyed his hair.
"He was taking part in activities and displaying mannerisms that were not consistent with a grieving parent," Lt. Joe Mendoza of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told reporters on Monday. He did not elaborate.
But Mendoza added, "We further believe that he was making plans to flee the country to a location where he could not be extradited."
Officials at the news conference did not elaborate on the divorce of the boy's parents.
According to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, the circumstantial evidence surrounding Andressian was enough to arrest him on murder charges even though investigators have still not found his son.
"It may seem unusual to file murder charges when we have not yet found the child's body," she said. "But rest assured my office has successfully prosecuted such cases before."
Medonza said Andressian, in jail since his arrest on Friday, "has not been cooperative whatsoever."
"As a matter of fact, he has given us information in interviews that were untruths," Mendoza said.
The search continues
There have been no confirmed sightings of the child since he went missing, Mendoza said Monday.
The search for the 5-year-old spans from Santa Barbara to Pasadena, about a 100 mile stretch, and includes hundreds of law enforcement personnel and volunteers.
Investigators are focusing on a 6½ hour window between when Andressian was seen leaving Disneyland with his son and when he was found in the park.
"My community in South Pasadena, their heart breaks," South Pasadena Police Chief Arthur Miller said. The boy and his parents lived in the Southern California community, according to local media reports.
"Their heart aches."