Authorities, as of late Wednesday, have come up empty in the search for a 5-year-old South Pasadena boy who has been missing for more than a month.
Members of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. were aided by a drone, canine and horseback units in conducting another massive search of Arroyo Seco Park in the city on May 18, a day after the mother of the boy pleaded for his safe return during an emotional press conference at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles.
Sherriff’s Dept. officials are looking for Aramazd Andressian Jr., last seen on April 20 when he was with his father at Disneyland. During last week’s search they combed through brush, and uncovered metal plates in the Arroyo Seco wash, trying to find any signs of the youth after receiving what detectives described as a “credible tip.”
Aramazd Andressian Sr., the father of the boy, was found unconscious outside his BMW in the park during the early morning hours of April 22. A widespread search of the park was conducted that day as detectives looked for initial clues in the case.
Following the exhaustive 8-hour search in the local park last week, Sheriff’s Lead Investigator Lt. Joe Mendoza said it was “somewhat of a relief” the boy was not found, presuming he likely would have not been discovered alive after so much time has passed.
“It creates relief in our investigation,” said Mendoza, giving hope the boy is still alive and will be located.
Sheriff’s officials aren’t even sure the boy was with his father on the day he was discovered in Arroyo Seco park laying next to his car. It was disclosed by police last week that the interior of the vehicle had been doused with gasoline and a rag was pushed into the car’s fuel tank when the father was found. Detectives also said the man had taken prescription drugs not belonging to him when he was found passed out.
At one point in the investigation, Andressian Sr. was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and held on $10 million bail. However, he was released due to lack of evidence, according to court documents.
The mother of the boy has been going to different communities to hand out fliers containing information about her missing son, hoping someone will recognize him.
There are fears from the mother that Andressian Jr. has been taken out of the state and, perhaps, even the country. Andressian Sr. reportedly has relatives in Iran, Canada and Europe.
The couple, said to be going through a divorce, was scheduled to make a custody exchange on April 22. When that didn’t take place, the mother called police.
Authorities say they questioned Andressian Sr. at length after the boy was reported missing. Detectives say the man continued to change his story.
Meanwhile, the mother of the boy remains hopeful her son is alive and will return home. During Thursday’s press conference she sent a message to him through the news media. “Be brave honey. Know that mama and a lot of people are working very hard to bring you home.”
She calls her son’s disappearance “my worst nightmare. There are no words to describe how devastated and heartbroken I am. Although I don’t know of his whereabouts, I do believe he is alive, misses his family and desperately wants to come home.”
The case has taken investigators not only to South Pasadena, but to Disneyland and to Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara Country, where divers went into water with hopes of finding the boy.
“I know the Sheriff’s Department along with South Pasadena detectives have been working very hard on this case,” said South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller. “What’s frustrating is the father has not come forward with any information, and the mother has. She has been very diligent with staying in touch with the Sheriff’s Department. The father has basically gone underground and not provided us with any information. That’s concerning. He needs to be out helping us find his boy if he doesn’t know where he’s at.”
Watching the mother make a plea for her son’s safe recovery last week left “a lump in my throat,” said Miller. “It is heart wrenching. I can’t even imagine what she’s going through.”
There was an initial $10,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of the youth, but last week it was increased to $20,000. Family members of the youth have launched a GoFundMe account as a means to increase the reward for the missing boy.