Assisted by cadaver dogs and a hovering drone, scores of law enforcement officers scoured a South Pasadena park Thursday for signs of a missing 5-year-old boy, but failed to find anything after hours of searching.
Roughly 80 Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and South Pasadena police officers, some of them on horseback, searched Arroyo Park for additional evidence related to the disappearance of Aramazd Andressian Jr.
The eight-hour search, however, did not yield anything and investigators are now "very convinced" the boy is not at the park, according to sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza.
"Not locating him is somewhat of a relief and gives us optimism in the case," he said.
Mendoza said investigators received a tip recently that led them back to the hilly, brush-filled area where the boy's father was found unconscious on the morning of April 22. Authorities declined to provide details about the tip or where it came from.
Investigators covered approximately two miles of brush near the park and the nearby Arroyo Seco Golf Course, Mendoza said.
The park was searched extensively the weekend the boy went missing. Mendoza said that although many resources were used at that time, investigators had hoped that, "now that some time has gone by, maybe there's different scents that are available."
The boy's father, Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, was found unconscious in the park at 6:30 a.m. April 22. He did not have the child, and authorities said he had taken prescription drugs that were not his.
Mendoza said the father was a "person of interest" in the case. It is unknown whether others are involved, but Mendoza said investigators were keeping an open mind.
The father has given "inconsistent" and "misleading" statements to authorities, Mendoza said. He was briefly held on charges of child endangerment and child abduction, then released because of insufficient evidence. He has hired a lawyer and refused to speak with investigators, giving only a written statement provided by his attorney.
The boy was last seen alive about 1 a.m. April 21 after leaving Disneyland with his father and other relatives, authorities said. Investigators also think the elder Andressian visited the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County with the boy before he was reported missing, but there were no confirmed sightings of the child there.
Andressian was found the next day unconscious, with scrapes on his arms and a cut on his head. His gray BMW had been doused with gasoline. Investigators are trying to determine whether the injuries were self-inflicted.
"He's been deceitful since the very beginning," said sheriff's Det. Louie Aguilera, the lead investigator on the case, adding that fire personnel who responded to Arroyo park that morning said the father was "deliberately unresponsive."
Authorities searched the Cachuma Lake Recreation area on April 25, but found nothing.
The child's mother addressed the media for the first time on Wednesday.
"My son's disappearance is my worst nightmare," she said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
3:30 p.m. This article was updated with additional information from L.A. County sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza.
10:30 a.m. This article was updated with additional information from law enforcement officials.
8:50 a.m. This article was updated with additional information from L.A. County sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza.