The remains of a 5-year-old South Pasadena boy have been found at a Santa Barbara County recreation area, capping weeks of frantic searching.
The grim discovery was made Friday in the Cachuma Lake area, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a written statement. No further details were given.
The boy’s father, Aramazd Andressian Sr., was charged last week with his murder. A sheriff’s official said that releasing information about the body’s discovery could compromise the prosecution.
Aramazd Andressian Jr. 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 initially was 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.
But it was not until Friday, when sheriff’s homicide detectives followed new leads back to the Cachuma Lake area, that the boy’s body was found.
Detectives believe Andressian, 35, killed his son because of tumultuous divorce proceedings with his estranged wife.
“I am very proud of the perseverance and diligent work of our detectives in bringing some degree of closure to such a tragic case,” L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.
Andressian, who is being held on $10-million bail, will plead not guilty at an arraignment Monday, according to his attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez.
The intense public interest in the case has led to a “rush to judgment,” said Rodriguez, who visited his client at Twin Towers Correctional Facility on Saturday.
“To say it’s a difficult time for him is an understatement,” Rodriguez told reporters. “To be in custody and to be accused of something like this is something that would break anyone.”
The boy’s other relatives are “in seclusion, grieving,” Rodriguez said.
Los Angeles County coroner’s officials will use dental records and X-rays to positively identify the body, Ed Winter, the coroner’s deputy chief of investigations, said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.
Winter said the body had not yet been examined for signs of trauma.
Andressian was arrested June 23 in Las Vegas, where he had stayed off and on since his son’s disappearance. Sheriff’s investigators noticed that he had lightened his hair, shaved his beard and was preparing to travel to a country where he could avoid extradition.
5:00 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from the L.A. County sheriff and Andressian’s attorney.
3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details from authorities and the lawyer’s statement.
This article originally published at 8:30 a.m.