LAS VEGAS (CBSLA.com) – A South Pasadena man will be returned from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to be prosecuted on charges of killing his 5-year-old son, who has been missing since April. The boy's body has not been found.
At an extradition hearing Tuesday in Las Vegas Justice Court, 35-year-old Aramazd Andressian Sr. told a judge he will voluntarily waive extradition back to L.A.
"If California wants me, they can come get me within the set period of time," Andressian Sr. said in court.
California has 30 days to extradite Andressian Sr. back to Los Angeles.
Andressian Sr. was arrested Friday in Las Vegas on suspicion of killing Aramazd Andressian Jr., and has been in custody in Nevada since then on $10 million bail.
"I never came here with an intent to flee," Andressian Sr. told the judge.
The boy was last seen at 1 a.m. on April 21 leaving Disneyland with his father, who was found unconscious at Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena the next day and was unable to account for his son's whereabouts. His car had been doused with gasoline and prescription drugs were found at the scene.
The child's mother contacted police at 9 a.m. April 22 to report her son missing. She said her estranged husband had failed to drop off the child at a pre-arranged meeting place.
Andressian had spent the 47 days prior to his arrest "socializing" in Las Vegas, L.A County Sheriff's Homicide Lt. Joe Mendoza said Monday.
Andressian planned his son's murder to get back at his estranged wife during a "tumultuous" divorce and then tried to commit suicide before heading to Las Vegas to prepare to flee the country, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said Monday.
The investigation into the death included several weeks of surveillance, during which the suspect "significantly" changed his appearance, acted in a manner inconsistent with the behavior of a grieving parent and appeared to be planning to flee to a country from which he could not be extradited, Mendoza said.
Sheriff's officials have not provided specifics on any new evidence explaining the suspect's latest arrest. He was originally arrested in Los Angeles County shortly after his son went missing but was later released for lack of evidence.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said her office filed one count of murder against Aramazd Andressian Sr. last week. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.
Lacey said that while "no-body cases" present a challenge for prosecutors, her office has successfully obtained convictions in many such cases.
Mendoza said killing was "pre-planned" and took place between the time father and son left Disneyland and the man was discovered unconscious at the South Pasadena park, the result of an unsuccessful suicide attempt.
The elder Andressian has been uncooperative and allegedly gave false information to investigators since he fell under suspicion, Mendoza said.
Andressian told investigators he arrived at the park with his son and waited for the golf course to open, and admitted ingesting prescription medication that was not prescribed to him, Mendoza said previously.
The father said he did not remember what happened to his child or any details that were useful in locating the boy, according to Mendoza, who said a prescription bottle was found inside Andressian's vehicle, which was doused with gasoline inside and out.
Andressian was in the middle of a divorce and custody battle with the boy's mother, Ana Estevez, who investigators have said is not a suspect in the child's disappearance.
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. Law enforcement officials intend to continue searching for the boy's body in Santa Barbara County, Mendoza said.
Detectives also served a warrant at the Montebello home of the boy's paternal grandmother on May 25. The boy's father had reportedly recently moved into the home, where investigators "seized various items of evidence," according to a sheriff's statement released at the time.
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