The mother of a 5-year-old boy who has been missing since he was last seen with his father at Disneyland last month made her first public plea for information Wednesday morning, saying she still thinks her son is alive.
Ana Estevez reported her son, Aramazd Andressian Jr., missing on April 22 after his father failed to show up for a scheduled custody exchange in San Marino.
"My son’s disappearance is my worst nightmare," Estevez said at a downtown L.A. news conference with investigators. "It has been 32 days, almost three hours since I last hugged my son, kissed him, or told him how much I love him. There are no words to described how devastated and heartbroken I am.”
Estevez said she believed her son, who is known to family as Piqui, is missing his family and wants to come home.
The boy's father, 35-year-old Aramazd Andressian Sr., has ceased cooperating with investigators and will speak only through his attorney, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department homicide Lt. Joe Mendoza said.
Andressian Sr. has been arrested later in the day after the child was reported missing, but he was released, Mendoza said, because there was not enough information to prosecute him. Mendoza said that even if the man was re-arrested, investigators don't think they would learn anything new because of his insistence on speaking through a lawyer.
Andressian Sr. was found passed out in Arroyo Park in South Pasadena about 6:30 a.m. April 22, 3 1/2 hours before the boy's mother reported the father and son failed to show up for a custody exchange.
Investigators revealed that the father had ingested prescription drugs that did not belong to him. The South Pasadena man was found next to his BMW, which had been doused in gasoline inside and out. There were matches and a gasoline container in the car, Mendoza said.
He told detectives that he had taken his son to Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County the previous day, and then returned to Arroyo Park to wait for the golf course to open. Detectives have not been able to find evidence the boy was at Lake Cachuma, where surveillance video and multiple witnesses reported seeing Andressian Sr. alone.
Mendoza described Andressian Sr.'s statements as "inconsistent and misleading."
Officials searched the Arroyo Park, Lake Cachuma, Andressian’s South Pasadena home, and other homes and public areas as well, Mendoza said.
“All those have been fruitless," the lieutenant said.
Estevez said she believes her son is being concealed and she appealed to those involved to return him to her. In an emotional statement, she spoke directly to her boy.
“To my son … be brave, honey. Know that mama and a lot of people are working very hard to bring you home," she said. "I am counting the days until I see you again, honey. I will never stop looking for you.”
The last confirmed sighting of the child was about 1 a.m. April 21, after the boy and his father left Disneyland.
Mendoza refused to answer questions about whether Estevez had received threats from her ex-husband to take her son away from her. The father has not been in contact with Estevez since the boy's disappearance, Mendoza said.
A $20,000 reward was approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for information related to the case, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to supplement it. The page had raised more than $4,000 by midday Wednesday.
“Detectives hope it will motivate someone to come forward with information,” officials said in a news release.