Remains of missing San Gabriel Valley boy found in Santa Barbara County

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LOS ANGELES — The remains of a 5-year-old boy from San Gabriel Valley who was reported missing in April were found Friday in the area of a lake in Santa Barbara County, the same day as his father’s extradition from Las Vegas following his arrest, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Saturday.

Homicide detectives found the remains of Aramazd “Piqui” Andressian Jr. Friday in the Lake Cachuma area, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release.

Detectives had searched the mountainous area located about 15 miles northwest of the city of Santa Barbara for the boy several times before, but “additional leads” led them back Friday, according to the release.

No further information was released.

Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, was arrested Friday, June 23, on suspicion of murder, about two months after Aramazd Andressian Jr. was reported missing by his mother when her ex-husband failed to show up with their son for a planned custody exchange on April 22.

The child was last seen with his father leaving Disneyland around 1 a.m. April 21; investigators believe Andressian Jr. was killed during a 6 1/2 hour period after the pair left the Anaheim theme park, and before Andressian Sr. showed up at Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County by himself later that morning, according to authorities.

Investigators believe the killing “was a pre-planned event,” and the motive was “tumultuous divorce” proceedings with the boy’s mother, according to L.A. County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza.

Authorities said that while investigators searched for the missing child, the suspect was “socializing in Vegas,” and not doing any of the things the child’s mother was doing, such as posting fliers, Mendoza said.

“He was taking part in activities and displaying mannerisms that were not consistent with a grieving parent,” the lieutenant said.

The father also tried to change his appearance, including shaving his beard and coloring his hair. He may have been planning to flee the country to a place where he wouldn’t face extradition, Mendoza added.

Andressian Sr. was taken into custody in Las Vegas after being deemed a “flight risk,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.

During an extradition hearing Tuesday in Las Vegas, Andressian Sr. denied he intended to flee. He laughed, smiled and even tried to crack a joke with the judge, video from the courtroom showed.

He was held on $10 million at the Clark County Detention Center before he arrived at the Long Beach Airport midday Friday after being extradited, KTLA reported.

Andressian Sr. is expected to be arraigned Monday at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, KTLA reported.

He faces a possible maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.

In a tweet, the South Pasadena Police Department said Saturday it was “heartbroken” about the news of Aramazd Andressian Jr.’s remains being found:

“@SoPasPD is heartbroken with this news. Our staff assisted @LASDHQ investigation everyday with the prayers Aramazd Jr. would be found safe.”

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