A South Pasadena man who admitted murdering his 5-year-old son after a trip to Disneyland this year was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years to life in prison.
Aramazd Andressian Sr., who had been involved in a custody dispute with the boy’s mother, pleaded guilty in early August to killing his son, who was last seen alive in April.
Aramazd Andressian Jr.’s disappearance ignited a nearly two-month search that used a drone, cadaver dogs, hundreds of volunteers and search-and-rescue personnel and ended with the grim discovery of the child’s remains in a Santa Barbara County recreation area.
The boy, known affectionately as “Piqui,” was found dead June 30 near Cachuma Lake the same day his father was flown back to the Los Angeles area after being arrested in Las Vegas.
Authorities suspected Andressian from the beginning. The boy was last seen alive about 1 a.m. April 21 as he was leaving Disneyland with his father, aunt and grandmother. The child’s mother, Ana Estevez, reported him missing the next day after Andressian failed to show up at a custody exchange.
On the same day, Andressian was found unconscious in a South Pasadena park. His gray BMW had been doused in gasoline, and he had taken prescription pills in what authorities said was an effort to kill himself.
Andressian claimed that he didn’t know what had happened to his son, and he was detained briefly before being released for lack of evidence.
He and Estevez had been embroiled in a tumultuous divorce that began in April 2016. In court records, Andressian alleged that Estevez spanked their son, used profanity and had talked of taking the boy to Cuba. He said he was concerned that Estevez’s father practiced the religion of Santeria and once sacrificed a rooster in front of the child.
Estevez accused her husband of falsely saying he was a stay-at-home dad who was their son’s primary caregiver, the records show. She said her mother and father took care of Aramazd Jr. when she was at work, she said.
She alleged that her husband had a gambling problem and was addicted to prescription drugs, according to the court documents. She said he had told her that if anything were to happen between them, he would take the child to Iran or Armenia.
After her son disappeared, Estevez, an elementary school principal, filed paperwork asking a divorce court to end the child- and spousal-support payments she had been ordered to pay her husband. She declared Andressian had “lost our son while our son was in his custody.”
She said she had provided “hard evidence showing” Andressian’s character, “yet my evidence was ignored,” she wrote. At the same time, she said, her husband’s account “with no supporting documents was believed and relied upon by this court.”
As the days dragged on, authorities continued to monitor Andressian, who was spending time in Las Vegas “socializing,” sheriff’s officials said. Detectives discovered Andressian had lightened his hair, and they believed he was going to flee the country. He was arrested on suspicion of murder in Las Vegas June 23.
Authorities believe the boy was killed shortly after leaving Disneyland, before his father went to the Santa Barbara County lake.