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SOUTH PASADENA >> A tip led to 80 deputies and officers to search a local park Thursday for a 5-year-old South Pasadena boy who has been missing for nearly a month.
Searchers used a drone as well as five scent and cadaver dogs.
Lt. Joe Mendoza of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said they searched Arroyo Park, the golf course and a 2-mile area near the park but didn’t find anything.
“We were looking for any type of evidence,” Mendoza said.
He said they received a credible tip in recent days. He declined to discuss what the tip was about and who the tipster was. Mendoza said investigators got the tip before Wednesday’s press conference where the mother of Aramazd “Piqui” Andressian Jr. asked the public for help in finding her son.
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He explained the presence of the cadaver dogs. They didn’t know what they would find so they wanted to cover all the bases, according to Mendoza.
During the search, deputies opened storm drain covers after a dog barked at one.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday doubled the reward in the case from $10,000 to $20,000. There is also a GoFundMe account, https://www.gofundme.com/findingaramazd, created to supplement the reward.
It’s not the first time deputies and police searched Arroyo Park.
The boy’s father, Aramazd Andressian Sr., was found unconscious next to his car at Arroyo Park around 6:30 a.m. on April 22. His son wasn’t with him.
The father admitted to taking a prescription drug but told detectives he doesn’t remember what happened until he woke up at a hospital, according to Mendoza.
Mendoza said the car’s interior was doused in gasoline. He added that officers also found a gas can and matches in the car as well as a rag stuffed in the car’s gas tank.
Andressian Sr. was supposed to turn over his son to his estranged wife the morning of April 22. When he didn’t show up for the custody exchange, Estevez reported her son missing to San Marino Police.
Law enforcement searched the park that weekend but didn’t find the boy.
South Pasadena police arrested the father on suspicion of child endangerment on April 22, but he was released three days later after detectives decided not to present a case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Investigators still deem him a person of interest.
Andressian Sr. released a statement on April 28, the day detectives served a search warrant at his South Pasadena home. He said he went to Arroyo Park with his son before meeting his wife for the custody exchange. The next thing he remembers is waking up at Huntington Hospital.
“I was told that a good Samaritan found me unconscious on the ground near my car, with young Aramazd nowhere in sight. I can only speculate that I must have been attacked in the park, given my unresponsive state and subsequent physical condition,” Andressian Sr. said in the statement.
He also asked for the public’s help in finding his son.
“My family and I are heartbroken and grief-stricken that Aramazd Jr.. is missing and may be in harm’s way,” Andressian Sr. said. “I hope and pray for the safe return of my only child, my namesake, who has been missing since last Saturday morning (April 22).”
Mendoza said the last verified sighting of Andressian Jr. was around 1 a.m. April 21 at Disneyland. He said the father, two relatives and the boy went to the theme park the night of April 20.
Police and deputies have searched the father’s home, several residences, Arroyo Park and even the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County after they found out the father went there April 21.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Sheriff’s detectives at 323-890-5500.