A California man accused of killing his missing 5-year-old son laughed and attempted to joke with a Las Vegas judge Tuesday during an extradition hearing.
Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, of South Pasadena, was arrested Friday and charged with murder in the presumed death of his son, Aramazd Andressian Jr., who has been missing since April. Andressian, who authorities believe was preparing to flee to a country that would not extradite him back to the U.S., is being held in lieu of a $10 million bond.
Investigators had Andressian taken into custody in Las Vegas, where he lived on and off in the two months since his son was last seen, to prevent his potential flight. Reporters from KTLA in Los Angeles were in a courtroom there on Tuesday for Andressian’s extradition hearing.
Video from the news station showed Andressian, who had recently shaved off his beard and dyed his dark hair blond, smiling and laughing with fellow inmates. During Andressian’s time before the bench, the judge asked him if he intended to fight extradition.
“No, I never came here in an attempt to flee,” Andressian said.
When the judge mentioned the California media present in the courtroom, Andressian joked that the reporters could take him back with them.
KTLA reported that Aramazd Andressian Jr., whose nickname was Piqui, was last seen leaving Disneyland with his father around 1 a.m. April 21. Andressian told authorities he took his son to the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County later that morning.
Though investigators did find evidence that Andressian was at the lake that day, there were no sightings of Piqui.
The boy’s mother, Ana Estevez, reported him missing on April 22 when Andressian failed to show up for the scheduled custody exchange of their son. The Los Angeles Times reported that Andressian was found unconscious that same day in a South Pasadena park.
His gray 2004 BMW was doused in gasoline, the Times said. Authorities said Andressian had taken prescription pills in what they believe was an attempted suicide.
Though he was initially held in his son’s disappearance, he was later released due to lack of evidence. Andressian, who said he didn’t know what happened to his son, stopped cooperating and hired a lawyer, authorities said.
Investigators have said little about the circumstantial evidence against Andressian, but have said that, as Estevez, multiple law enforcement agencies and volunteers searched in vain for the boy, Andressian was instead “socializing” in Las Vegas.
“He was taking part in activities and displaying mannerisms that were not consistent with a grieving parent,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza said Monday at a news conference.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said at the news conference that trying a murder case without a victim’s body has challenges, but that her office has prosecuted similar cases successfully in the past.
“It may seem unusual to file murder charges when we have not yet found the child’s body,” Lacey said. “But rest assured, my office has successfully prosecuted such cases before.”
Investigators said they believe that Andressian killed his son in a “pre-planned event” because of an acrimonious divorce from his ex-wife.
Estevez released a statement about the loss of her son, the Times reported.
“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.”
A $30,000 reward is being offered for information on Piqui’s disappearance.
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