The city of South Pasadena Monday honored the memory of 5-year-old Aramazd "Piqui'' Andressian Jr., who was killed by his father last year, with the unveiling of a memorial bench at Garfield Park, where the boy liked to play.
The bench was placed in an area across from the children's playground, along a path to the Children's Memorial and Healing Garden at the north section of the park in the 1000 block of Park Avenue.
"Yesterday was a very dark difficult day, as it marked the nine-month anniversary of my son's death,'' the South Pasadena boy's mother, Ana Estevez, said at a dedication ceremony Monday morning attended by family, friends and city officials. "Today, however, is a gorgeous day; and here we are celebrating Piqui's life by dedicating this beautiful bench in his memory at a park that he enjoyed playing at.
Top news of the day
"My son loved the outdoors, and enjoyed the 'play apparatus,' as he called it -- big words from a 5-year-old with an enormous heart,'' she said.
"How privileged are those individuals who will sit here on this bench -- on Piqui's bench -- and have the opportunity to watch children play; to listen to their cries of laughter, and observe the wonder of childhood for years to come.''
The boy was last seen alive on April 21 leaving Disneyland with his father, Aramazd Andressian Sr., during the first week of a joint custody arrangement to which the parents had agreed amid a contentious divorce. The tot's body was found roughly two months later in Santa Barbara County, and Andressian eventually confessed to smothering his son. He was sentenced in late August to 25 years to life in prison.
The black bench in honor of Piqui was placed along a concrete path with an embedded marker reading, "In loving memory of Piqui You are my sunshine my only sunshine.''
Estevez called police when her ex-husband failed to return their son as planned on April 22. Andressian had driven with the boy son from Disneyland to Santa Barbara County, where he killed his son within an hour by smothering him with a jacket that was in the car and left him about a mile or two past Lake Cachuma, according to Los Angeles County sheriff's Detective Louie Aguilera.
Andressian spent about eight hours in the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area without his son before driving to Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena, where he took prescription medication and poured gas all over the interior and exterior of his vehicle, but "passed out before he was able to do anything to the car,'' the detective said.
Andressian was initially arrested April 22, then released three days later due to lack of evidence. He was arrested again June 23 in Las Vegas, after applying for a new passport. After being returned to Los Angeles County June 30 from Nevada, Andressian confessed and told investigators where they could find his son's body. The unburied remains were found the same day in a wooded area about 50 feet from a parking lot at Vista Point near Lake Cachuma.
Estevez is now urging Congress to pass HR 72, a bill that would family court so that child abuse allegations would be fully investigated before custody disputes are settled.
"If I can save one life, I know my son would be very proud of me," she said.
NBC4's Angie Crouch contributed to this story.