The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says the father of a 5-year-old who has been missing for two months has been arrested on suspicion of his son's murder. According to Los Angeles County sheriff's officials, Andressian Sr.is suspected of murdering his 5-year-old son.
The last confirmed sighting of the boy was with his father at 1 a.m. April 21 as they left Disneyland.
Andressian Sr.'s attorney, Daniel Nardoni, told Fox11News Monday that he was surprised by the arrest: "I was surprised to see that he was arrested on the charge of murder in particular since they haven't found a body and since he's been adamant from day one he hasn't done (anything) to harm his son or done anything to jeopardize his welfare", Nardoni said.
Andressian was being held in Las Vegas in lieu of $10 million bail pending extradition.
Helicopters and dive teams were deployed to Lake Cachuma, an artificial lake about 15 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, after Andressian said he traveled there with his son.
There are now more than 200 law enforcement officers working the case and the search has expanded from Los Angeles county to Santa Barbara. What evidence authorities have against the 35-year-old father has not been revealed, but it was enough that prosecutors ordered for Andressian to be taken into custody.
"It may seem unusual to file murder cases when we have not yet found the child's body, but rest assured, my office has successfully prosecuted such cases before", District Attorney Jackie Lacy said.
Mendoza also said Andressian Sr. gave investigators inaccurate information in interviews. Sheriff's officials said he took prescription pills and was found in a auto doused in gasoline.
Andressian Sr., was found unconscious on April 22 near his vehicle, which was parked at the Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena.
This undated photo provided by the South Pasadena, Calif., Police Department shows Aramazd Andressian Sr.
Further details were not provided and weren't expected until Monday morning, police said. Police have alleged that the inside of his auto was doused with gasoline and there were matches in his vehicle. The boy's father had reportedly recently moved into the home, where investigators "seized various items of evidence", according to a sheriff's statement released at the time. In a Friday afternoon statement, Ana Estevez thanked community members for their support but maintained her belief that her son is still alive.
Andressian Jr. was reported missing by his mother on April 22 when Andressian Sr. failed to turn over the child to his mother for a scheduled custody exchange. I'm counting the days until I see you again.
None of the officials in downtown Los Angeles Monday would talk about the specific evidence they had against Aramazd Andressian Sr., who was arrested Friday in Las Vegas.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.