Detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Monday they’d found new evidence that's led to the arrest of Aramazd Andressian, Sr., who's been charged with the murder of his 5-year-old son, Aramazd Andressian, Jr.
Officials declined to discuss the substance of the criminal case, but said the prosecution would be based on circumstantial evidence, in large part because the boy’s body has not been found.
"I am confident, however, that the evidence proves that Mr. Andressian committed this horrible crime," said L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
The arrest was made in Las Vegas Friday, where L.A. County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza says Andressian, Sr. had spent 47 days over the two months the boy has been missing.
“While in Las Vegas he was taking part in activities and displaying mannerisms that were not consistent with a grieving parent,” Mendoza said, and he added the arrest was made when detectives learned Andressian, Sr. was making travel arrangements.
“He was making plans to flee the country to a location where he could not be extradited,” Mendoza told reporters.
The boy was last seen at Disneyland April 20 with his father and grandmother, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
The father said he had ingested prescription drugs when he was found unconscious in a park in South Pasadena the morning of April 22, and detectives said the father’s gray BMW had been doused with gasoline inside and out.
Now investigators have suggested the gasoline might have been poured in an effort to destroy blood on the car's exterior or interior.
The father claimed that he and his son were together at Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara on April 21, then went to the South Pasadena park together the following morning.
Detectives were unable to confirm the boy was seen anywhere after the Disneyland visit.
Lt. Mendoza said the motive stemmed from the custody dispute between Andressian, Sr. and the boy's mother.
"Investigators believe that this was a preplanned event," Mendoza said. "We don't know the time frame, however, there's evidence showing that this was preplanned by the suspect."
He said the boy was probably killed during a six hour period between the time the father left Disneyland and the time the father was next seen pulling into the Lake Cachuma campground.
Officials said there were still areas of Santa Barbara County that would be searched for the boy's remains.
D.A. Lacey said the case would be more difficult to prosecute without the body.
"Rest assured, my office has successfully prosecuted such cases before," Lacey said. "We have examined a number of important pieces of evidence in evaluating this case, much of which we cannot discuss."
Anna Estevez, the boy's mother, relayed a statement on the arrest through the Sheriff's Department:
"My heart is shattered and I will miss my son immensely each and every second of every day for the rest of my life," she said. "Piqui was everything great in my life and I cannot imagine the emptiness and void that I will bear until we are together again someday."