South Pasadena man accused of killing his 5-year-old son is expected to plead not guilty to murder

A South Pasadena man accused of killing his 5-year-old son, whose remains were found in recent days at a Santa Barbara County recreation area is expected to appear in court Monday morning for the first time since his extradition to California.

Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, is scheduled for arraignment sometime after 8:30 a.m. in Alhambra, where he will be asked to enter a formal plea to a murder charge.

Andressian, who is being held on $10-million bail, will plead not guilty, his attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez, previously said.

Andressian was arrested June 23 in Las Vegas, where he had stayed off and on since his son’s disappearance. Sheriff’s investigators said they had noticed he had lightened his hair, shaved his beard and was preparing to travel to a country where he could avoid extradition. He was flown back to California, arriving at Long Beach airport on Friday.

On the same day, authorities discovered the boy’s remains in the Cachuma Lake area after weeks of frantic searching. Aramazd Andressian Jr. was last seen April 21 about 1 a.m. as he was leaving Disneyland with his father, aunt and grandmother.

The next day, after the boy was to be handed off to his mother, his father was found unconscious in a South Pasadena park, his gray BMW doused in gasoline. Authorities believe that Andressian had tried to kill himself by taking prescription pills.

Andressian initially was detained, then released due to lack of evidence. He told sheriff’s detectives that he had gone with his son to the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County.

The detectives found evidence that Andressian was at the lake April 21, but there were no sightings of his son. Authorities suspect the child had been killed shortly after leaving Disneyland, before the father went to the lake.

After the boy’s disappearance, officials used scent dogs and drones to comb Arroyo Park, where the father was found. Divers searched Cachuma Lake.

But it was not until Friday, when sheriff’s homicide detectives followed new leads back to the Cachuma Lake area, that the boy’s body was found.

Detectives said they believe Andressian killed his son because of tumultuous divorce proceedings with his estranged wife.

Times staff writers Cindy Chang and Richard Winton contributed to this report.

For more news on homicide in Southern California, follow me on Twitter: @NicoleSantaCruz.

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