The father was arrested Friday in Las Vegas and is being held on $10 million bail.
Sheriff's officials and federal agents arrested Andressian because he was "becoming a flight risk", Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Monday. He had been living in Las Vegas for the past 47 days and was allegedly preparing to flee the country. He had also shaved his beard and dyed his hair in a bid to change his appearance.
Hope has greatly diminished for the safe return of 5-year-old Aramazd Andressian Jr., known as Piqui to his family. Investigators say the murder was premeditated.
Mendoza said investigators have spent the weeks since Aramazd went missing tracking his dads' movements.
The lieutenant said Andressian was in a "tumultuous divorce" and a bitter custody battle with his estranged wife.
In a statement shared by the Sheriff's Department, Estevez thanked investigators and the community for all the concern they've shown for her son, who goes by the nickname "Piqui". They've been asking the public to help find their son. Andressian had taken prescription pills, in an effort, authorities believe, to kill himself. Although most have never met Picqui, it is immensely clear that he has touched your lives in a positive and heartfelt way. "Piqui was everything great in my life, and I can not imagine the emptiness and void that I will bear until we are together again someday", Ana Estevez's statement said. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.
Still, prosecutors say they are confident they can secure a murder conviction. Andressian Sr was arrested in Las Vegas, NY on June 23, 2017. Police served search warrants at his South Pasadena home, as well as at the homes of other family members. The artificial lake is about 15 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. Javier Godinez is neighbors with the missing boy's mother and grandparents. Police are offering a $20,000 reward for anyone with information about the case. He appeared cool, calm and very collected in the courtroom, even smiling broadly and laughing at one point during his exchange with the judge. Andressian was found unconscious in a park and his son was nowhere to be found.
Investigators have conducted an exhaustive search for the boy, including twice traveling to Lake Cachuma and the Santa Ynez Valley, where the father is believed to have traveled on the day after the child disappeared. But they released him days later, citing "insufficient evidence", at the time.
The father's attorney, Daniel Nardoni, says his client is innocent.
Aramazd Andressian Sr. was not asked about the boy's whereabouts at an extradition hearing in Las Vegas Tuesday. In California, homicide investigators presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, which filed a murder charge against the man.
The boy was last seen leaving Disneyland with his father after midnight on April 21. Andressian Sr. said he may have been attacked.
No further details were released Friday regarding the arrest of Andressian Sr.
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