A year after a local man was sentenced to 25 years-to-life in prison for the murder of his 5-year-old son, the California Legislature has passed a resolution aimed at changing child custody laws and family court procedures to better protect children caught up in cross-hairs of a volatile custody battles.
Ana Estevez, the mother of Aramazd “Piqui” Andressian Jr., believes her son would be alive today had the court system heeded her warnings.
In another turn of events on the year anniversary, FOX11 news reports that the divorce attorney representing Piqui’s father, Aramazd Andressian,Sr., was arrested Thursday evening, hours after the resolution was passed by the Legislature, following an armed standoff with police.
FOX11 reporter Gigi Graciette in a Twitter post said Rebecca Lizarraga had been in an armed standoff with police.
REPORTING: FOX 11 NEWS | GiGi Graciette
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“Happened next to spot where Piqui’s body was left,” Graciette wrote.
South Pasadena resident Anne Bagasao, one of several South Pasadena residents who befriended and helped Estevez during and after the search for Piqui, has followed the developments closely.
“We came together as a community. We didn’t know this woman and yet so many people came to her aid to help,” Bagasao said Friday. “We were there for her and to see everyone mobilize with so much love and compassion, reminds people in the community who we are.”
Estevez has been outspoken about the failings of the court system and California Department of Child and Family Services, claiming the system ignored her allegations of domestic violence and failed to protect her son from his father during an acrimonious divorce and custody battle.
She was a leading voice in the effort to require divorce court judges to take into account reports of mental illness and domestic abuse when considering child custodial decisions. That effort became known as Piqui’s Resolution, or HR 113, as introduced by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office confirmed with the SouthPasadenan.com news reports that a woman by the same name was taken into custody shortly after receiving reports at about 6 p.m. of a woman with a gun near the Bradbury Dam Observation Point at Lake Cachuma. The woman fired several shots in the air before police were able to take her into custody and take her to a local hospital for treatment.
Piqui’s body was found propped on a tree on July 1, 2017 near the same dam.
The last time Piqui was seen alive was on April 12, 2017, soon after his father had won partial custody rights. The boy was reported missing April 21, when his father did not show up for a custody exchange with Estevez. On June 23, 2017 police arrested Andressian Sr. on murder charges and had him extradited from Las Vegas, and he eventually confessed and told authorities the location his son’s remains.
It is near that location where Andressian’s attorney was reportedly arrested on Thursday.
“I’m sad, and I’m angry,” Bagasao said. “For whatever reason, she chose that location on this day.”
Piqui’s last day alive, according to police, was spent at Disneyland. Hours later, his father was determined to have smothered him with a child’s jacket.
After failing to show up for the custody exchange, Andressian Sr. was found in Arroyo Park in South Pasadena doused in gasoline sitting in his car. He told police at the time that he had taken a prescription drug somewhere around the time he took his son to the park and blacked out. He later claimed to recount that he had woke up in the hospital with no memory of what happened and believed he had been attacked. He was initially released due to lack of evidence at the time.
Police say that Andressian partied in Vegas while his mother and neighbors and volunteers searched feverishly, street by street, field by field, for weeks in search of any sign of Piqui. Some of those searches were led by South Pasadena Police Chief Arthur Miller.
During that time, Andressian Sr. , with the help of his attorney, was able to win partial custody of his son along with an alimony agreement, recalled Bagasao.
His subsequent confession lead police to Piqui’s remains.
Andressian Sr. pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom in Alhambra on Aug. 23, 2017.