Aramazd Andressian Sr., the California father who pleaded guilty to murdering his 5-year-old son after taking the boy to Disneyland earlier this year, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Wednesday. Little Aramazd Andressian Jr. was last seen alive following that Disneyland trip back in April; his mother reported him missing the day after the trip when his father did not return the boy to her custody as scheduled.
The same day that the 5-year-old was reported missing, Aramazd Andressian Sr. was found unconscious in a California park. He had reportedly taken a large number of prescription pills and his vehicle was found saturated in gasoline. Investigators later said that the California father had attempted to kill himself.
Andressian Sr. claimed to have no recollection of what had happened to his son.
As MSN Mews reports, Aramazd Andressian Sr. and his estranged wife Ana Estevez were in the midst of a messy divorce and child custody situation when their son seemingly vanished without a trace. Andressian Sr. had previously accused Estevez of spanking their son, using vulgar language in his presence, and even threatening to abscond to Cuba with the boy. Estevez had been ordered to pay her estranged husband both child and spousal support at the time of their son’s disappearance.
After he vanished, investigators from multiple jurisdictions used every resource at their disposal in an attempt to locate 5-year-old Aramazd Andressian Jr., including drones, cadaver dogs, and hundreds upon hundreds of search volunteers. On June 30, his mother’s worst fears were confirmed when his body was discovered near Cachuma Lake in California, just days after his father Aramazd Andressian Sr. was arrested for on charges of suspicion murder in Las Vegas.
Authorities claim that Andressian Sr. was a suspect in his son’s disappearance from the beginning, and was even detained for a short time early on in the investigation. However, investigators were forced to release him due to lack of evidence in the case.
While authorities lacked the evidence to immediately charge Aramazd Andressian Sr. in his son’s disappearance, they did keep him on their radar. Shortly after Andressian Jr. disappeared, his father began spending extended periods of time in Las Vegas.
According to his estranged wife, Andressian Sr. had a longstanding problem with gambling and abusing prescription drugs. He had also allegedly threatened to take their son to Armenia or Iran if things went south between the couple. When he was found to have changed his appearance, investigators began to fear that Andressian Sr. was making plans to flee the country. He was arrested on June 23.
While he initially denied any involvement in his son’s death or disappearance, Aramazd Andressian Sr. pleaded guilty to a charge of first degree murder on August 1.
Following his Wednesday sentencing, KTLA reports that authorities who investigated the disappearance of Aramazd Andressian Jr. have, for the first time, released a cause of death and motive in the case.
According to sheriff’s Detective Louie Aguilera, Aramazd Andressian Sr. smothered his 5-year-old son to death with the child’s jacket on April 21, shortly after taking the little boy to Disneyland. The murder took place near Lake Cachuma, and Anressian Sr. then hid his son’s body in the wilderness roughly two miles away.
Investigators say that Anressian Sr. had planned his son’s murder up to four months before carrying it out. Anressian Sr. had reportedly planned to commit suicide following his son’s murder and to implicate his estranged wife in both deaths.
“His intentions were to kill the child, kill himself and have everyone point the finger at Ana, as her having something to do with it. He had put some things in motion prior to – months in advance – to point toward her … alleging that she may have had something to do with following him, he felt he was in danger and he let people know about this.”
Over the course of their investigation, authorities were able to determine that Ana Estevez never posed a threat to her estranged husband. As New York Daily News reports, Estevez confronted her estranged husband during his sentencing hearing.
“I hope you relive the image of murdering my baby every day of your insignificant life. May your dark soul burn in eternal hell. I pity you. You are a failure as a father. You are a failure as a man. You are a failure as a human being.”
Aramazd Andressian Sr. did not respond to his estranged wife’s words, and remained silent and stoic throughout his court appearance as he was confronted by emotional family members and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
According to his defense attorney, Andressian Sr. pleaded guilty to first degree murder, at least in part, in an effort to avoid the death penalty.
[Featured Image by Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/AP Images]