Surrounded by a close-knit family, civic leaders and local police department officials, Ana Estevez talked about the bench in South Pasadena’s Garfield Park that will forever memorialize her 5-year-old son, who was tragically killed by his father last year.
In her remarks on Monday, Estevez said she was grateful for those on hand at the ceremony honoring “Piqui,” as she affectionately called Aramazd Andressian Jr., the boy who disappeared last April. Sheriff’s Department officials discovered the boy’s body two months later near Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County.
The bench overlooks the playground area in what Estevez said was Piqui’s favorite park. Individual donations and local fundraisers along with a major fundraising effort by South Pasadena Beautiful made the bench possible. “For your kindness and generosity, I’m deeply indebted,” she said, paying tribute to those who supported the project.
“How privileged are individuals who will sit here on Piqui’s bench and have the opportunity to watch children play, hear the cries of laughter and observe the wonder of childhood for years to come,” Estevez told the gathering at Monday’s dedication while standing beside South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller. “Thank you for your ongoing support for being there in time of need, and for loving me and my son Piqui.”
A marker in front of the bench reads:
In Loving Memory of
You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
Sunday was a “dark difficult day,” explained Estevez, as it marked the ninth month since her son’s death. “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 he enjoyed playing at. My son enjoyed the outdoors and the play apparatus as he called it. Big words from a 5-year-old with an enormous heart.”
Estevez is extremely grateful for an etched stone in the city’s Healing Garden, also located inside Garfield Park that remembers her son and the lives of other children in the community. She said the bench and stone will “help to keep Piqui’s legacy alive for many generations to come. My son is often referred to as ‘a 5-year-old boy who is missing from South Pasadena.’ Although that was true, I want my son to be remembered as the 5-year-old boy who has captured the hearts of thousands who reminded us of the importance of prayer and selflessness and made a difference in the lives of so many.”
Following the boy’s disappearance, Aramazd Andressian Sr. became a suspect in the case after failing to show up for a custody exchange in April and was found passed out in South Pasadena’s Arroyo Park. Miller said the man later confessed to officials of killing the boy, was charged and convicted of murder and last August sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Honoring her son’s legacy and memory is what Estevez says she’s tasked with today. Through House Concurrent Resolution 72, she will continue to push to protect children whose parents are involved in custody disputes. She says at least 623 children have been murdered in the United States since 2008 by a parent involved in a divorce, custody, separation, visitation or child support situation.
“Passage of this resolution enables Congress to take a stand and publicly acknowledge that hurting, abusing or murdering children will no longer be tolerated,” said Estevez. “Children have the right to live without fear and abuse.”