A father accused in the disappearance of his 5-year-old son arrived back in Southern California Friday after being extradited from Las Vegas to face a murder charge, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Aramazd Andressian, 35, did not fight extradition at a hearing earlier this week in Las Vegas, where the South Pasadena man was arrested last week. He arrived around midday at Long Beach Airport, escorted by sheriff's department personnel.
Arraignment will likely be Monday, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
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Investigators said Andressian spent nearly 50 days in Las Vegas as authorities searched Lake Cachuma, parts of the Santa Ynez Mountains northwest of Los Angeles and other areas in Southern California for Aramazd Andressian Jr. No body has turned up two months after the boy was last seen with his father April 20 at Disneyland in Anaheim.
Andressian told the Las Vegas court Tuesday that his stay there was not an attempt to avoid investigators looking for Aramazd Andressian Jr.
"If California wants me, they can come get me," Andressian said Tuesday in court. "I never came here in intent to flee."
At a Monday news conference, authorities did not provide details about the father's activities in Las Vegas, but said surveillance of his behavior suggested it was "not consistent with a grieving parent."
Investigators said they were concerned Andressian was about to flee to another country, so they made the arrest last Friday, authorities said. Andressian tried to change his appearance by shaving his beard and coloring his hair, said sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza.
When asked whether Andressian has provided information to investigators, Mendoza said, "He has not been cooperative, whatsoever."
Andressian's attorney said Monday that his client is looking forward to pursuing the case in court and that nothing new was presented at the news conference earlier this week. He declined to comment on the length of time Andressian spent in Las Vegas.
The father's attorney, Robert Nardoni, has previously said his client is innocent and that last week's arrest came as a surprise. 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."
It was his only public comment on the boy's disappearance.
After the hearing in Las Vegas, the child's mother spoke with NBC4.
"No justice in the world will bring my Piqui back," said Ana Estevez, using her son's nickname. "However, Ara will pay tenfold for all that he has done."
As for a motive, investigators would only say they believe it stemmed from a divorce dispute and custody battle with the boy's mother. Authorities said Monday the divorce was part of the criminal investigation.
Court documents show that the father made allegations that the boy was being sexually abused by the son of the mother's boyfriend. Both police and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services became involved, but no evidence of abuse was found.
Police were never able to identify either a boyfriend or his child, the documents show.