Monsignor Clement J. Connolly left, comforts Ana Estevez as she watches her son’s small, white casket being carried into Holy Family Catholic Church in South Pasadena.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller, left, and Ana Estevez leave the funeral for Estevez’s 5-year-old son, Aramazd “Piqui” Andressian Jr., at Holy Family Catholic Church in South Pasadena.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
A small, white casket is carried into Holy Family Catholic Church in South Pasadena for the funeral services of Aramazd Andressian Jr.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles TImes)
Pallbearers carry the boy’s small, white casket from Holy Family Catholic Church in South Pasadena.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
People hug after the funeral service for 5-year-old Aramazd Andressian Jr. at Holy Family Catholic Church in South Pasadena.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
A crowd walks out of the church following the funeral service held Tuesday in South Pasadena for Aramazd Andressian Jr.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
After the funeral, family and friends touch the boy’s casket at Holy Family Catholic Church in South Pasadena.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller, right, escorts Ana Estevez into the funeral services for her 5-year-old son. The boy’s father has been charged in his killing.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles TImes)
Pallbearers carry the boy’s small, white casket at the funeral services in South Pasadena.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles TImes)
Ana Estevez never imagined that she would be reading a letter to her 5-year-old son, known as “Piqui,” at his funeral.
Estevez stood in front of hundreds of mourners Tuesday in South Pasadena and detailed what she will miss about her only child: giving him butterfly kisses, reading him stories and the way he proudly told people that she was a school principal.
“From the time you were an infant, I would tell others you were a magnet,” Estevez said. “Family, friends and strangers alike couldn’t get enough of you. There is no denying you were an extraordinary boy.”
The remains of Aramazd Andressian Jr. were found June 30 at a Santa Barbara County recreation area. The child’s father, embroiled in a custody dispute with Estevez, has pleaded not guilty in the killing.
Estevez shared that when Aramazd was 4 years old, he won a pink crayon bank from games played at Shakey’s Pizza. Later that night at home, he told her he was going to save “all his pennies and coins” to buy his mother a new house, an announcement that left her speechless.
“You could understand what other 5-year-olds could not,” she said.
Aramazd was last seen April 21 about 1 a.m. as he was leaving Disneyland with his father, aunt and grandmother.
The next day, after the boy was to be handed off to his mother, his father was found unconscious in a South Pasadena park, his gray BMW doused in gasoline.
Authorities believe that Andressian had tried to kill himself by taking prescription pills. Andressian, who told authorities he didn’t know what happened to the boy, was initially detained, then released due to lack of evidence.
He told sheriff’s detectives that he had gone with his son to the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County. The detectives found evidence that Andressian was at the lake April 21, but there were no sightings of his son.
Authorities suspect the child had been killed shortly after leaving Disneyland, before the father went to the lake.
After the boy’s disappearance, officials used scent dogs and drones to comb Arroyo Park, where the father was found. Divers searched Cachuma Lake.
The discovery of the child’s remains in the Cachuma Lake area capped weeks of searching for the child.
South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller also shared details about Aramazd’s life. Aramazd’s favorite superhero was Elena of Avalor, because she helped people, Miller said. He spoke of the child’s intelligence: Aramazd could add and subtract and knew his home address.
“He had a huge personality,” Miller said. “And it was hard not to notice him, as small as he was.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell shared that Aramazd became “the picture of innocence” in the minds of law enforcement through the two-month search for the child.
“It was our mission to find him and we never gave up hope,” he said.
McDonnell said the lead detective in the case missed his daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner because he was working.
“The potential that Aramazd had will never be realized,” he said.
As the service ended, pallbearers hoisted a small white casket over their heads and walked out of the church to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine.”
After the casket was placed inside a black hearse, one by one, family and friends leaned over and kissed it. On top was a small brown teddy bear.
For more crime news, follow @nicolesantacruz on Twitter.