A California father pleaded guilty to killing his 5-year-old son in a bid to get back at his estranged wife while they were going through a divorce.
Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, killed his son, Aramazd Andressian Jr., after a family trip to Disneyland. When Andressian Sr. failed to hand his son over during a planned custody exchange on April 22, his estranged wife, Ana Estevez, reported her son missing. Officials believe the boy’s father had attempted suicide after he was found alone the following day in Arroyo Seco Park, passed out from prescription pills in a car doused with gasoline.
Andressian Sr. was unable to account for his son’s whereabouts and this led investigators to believe something was amiss. A search for the boy’s body lasted for two months with officers repeatedly combing the area surrounding Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County. His remains were found on June 30 near Lake Cachuma, about 145 miles away from Anaheim, where Disneyland is located. It remains unclear how he was killed or what evidence linked the father to his death.
After Andressian Jr. went missing, Andressian Sr. was arrested but later released when police didn’t have enough to keep him behind bars. He later moved to Las Vegas. Investigators also noticed that he lightened his hair and appeared to be making plans to travel outside the country in order to avoid extradition. In late June, Andressian Sr. appeared carefree and made national headlines when he cracked a joke during his extradition hearing. Lt. Joe Mendoza said his behaviour was inconsistent with that of a grieving parent
“I can only speak for myself. If my son was missing, I would be doing things that (the boy’s mother) was doing. Circulating fliers, looking for your son. He was not doing that. He was socializing in Vegas,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza also said: “He has not been cooperative, whatsoever.”
Andressian Sr initially pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and was being held on $10 million bail. On Tuesday, he entered the plea to first-degree murder in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Alhambra. The deceased’s mother, Estevez, was in the front row of the courtroom while holding the urn with her son’s ashes. Surrounded by sobbing family members, Estevez wept as her estranged husband pleaded guilty.
After the bizarre court appearance, Estevez spoke to NBC4 and said: “No justice in the world will bring my Piqui back. However, Ara will pay tenfold for all that he has done.”
She also released a statement saying: “My heart is shattered and I will miss my son immensely each and every second of every day for the rest of my life.”
Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators believe the boy was killed in the six-and-a-half hours after he left Disneyland and headed to Lake Cachuma about 150 miles away with his father on April 21. They also believe the murder was pre-planned and motivated by the divorce from Estevez.