County prosecutors and sheriff's investigators said there was evidence indicating the father of the 5-year-old South Pasadena boy who went missing more than two months ago planned to kill his son amid a tumultuous divorce from his wife.
Andressian Jr. was last seen leaving Disneyland with his father around 1 a.m. on April 21.
Attorney Daniel Nardoni, who is representing Andressian Sr., said he was surprised to learn of the murder charge Friday afternoon.
The search for the boy has spanned several Southern California counties, including in the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area near Santa Barbara, where Andressian told authorities he took the boy the day after the Disneyland trip.
"I felt very sad", Levon Asatourian, Andressian Sr.'s uncle, told NBC4 Friday night.
Investigators have been searching for Aramazd Jr., or "Ara", since his father was found passed out in a park in South Pasadena on April 22.More news: Red Cross Pleads For More Blood Donors
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Mendoza also said Andressian Sr. gave investigators inaccurate information in interviews. His vehicle was found nearby doused with gasoline, and he had no explanation for his son's disappearance.
On April 28, the day a search warrant was served at his South Pasadena home, Andressian released a statement through his attorney saying, in part, that he hoped and prayed "for the safe return of my only child, my namesake ..."
Andressian Sr. was booked at the Metropolitan Police Department with a bail set at $10 million dollars and will be extradited to LA County. Jackie Lacey said her office has successfully prosecuted murder cases without a body and that she was confident there was strong evidence that Andressian "committed this terrible crime".
A law enforcement press conference regarding the arrest of Aramazd Andressian Sr. on suspicion of murder charges is scheduled for Monday.
Authorities, they said, had been surveilling Andressian while he was in Las Vegas "socializing" for a total of 47 days since the boy disappeared. Police have alleged that the inside of his auto was doused with gasoline and there were matches in his vehicle.
Almost a week after the boy was reported missing, Andressian released a statement through his attorney. The toddler, however, was not with his father at that time. The boy's mother said her estranged husband failed to drop off the child at a pre-arranged spot.
With tears streaming down her face, Estevez spoke directly to her child. I'm counting the days until I see you again.
The case remains under investigation, and anyone with information is urged to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or leave an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers by dialing 800-222-8477.