Sheriff's officials say the remains of missing 5-year-old Aramazd Andressian Jr. have been found, over two months after he was last seen with his father at Disneyland in Anaheim.
"Based on additional leads developed in the Andressian case, homicide detectives returned to the Lake Cachuma area of Santa Barbara County on Friday, June 30, 2017 in an effort to locate additional evidence," read a statement from Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
"Homicide Detectives have located the remains of victim, Aramazd Andressian Jr.," the statement read. Nishida said the body was found on Friday.
"Yes it's true," the boy's mother, Ana Estevez, told NBC4 Saturday morning.
The body of a child — about five years old — was recovered and flown to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, said Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner's office, at a press briefing Saturday afternoon.
"The child needs to be positively identified, and an exam will happen within the next couple days," he said.
No additional information was immediately available.
The South Pasadena Police Department said they were "heartbroken" on Twitter Saturday.
A vigil was initially planned for the boy Saturday evening in Arcadia, but Estevez said it has been postponed.
The boy's father, Aramazd Andressian, 35, is accused in his disappearance. He arrived back in Southern California Friday after being extradited from Las Vegas to face a murder charge, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Investigators said Andressian spent nearly 50 days in Las Vegas as authorities searched Lake Cachuma, parts of the Santa Ynez Mountains northwest of Los Angeles and other areas in Southern California for his son.
His attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez, noted he met with him in jail Saturday in a statement.
Rodriguez held a news conference Saturday afternoon confirming that he has spoken with his client in jail, but he did not reveal the nature of the conversation.
"Today is about the feeling of loss that the Andressian family has had over today's news," Rodriguez said at the news conference.
"This is a sad and solemn day for the Andressian family, one they all hoped would never come," Rodriguez said in a statement. "The family mourns the death of Ara, Jr. and are in seclusion grieving. All thoughts and prayers are with the Andressian family and all of Ara, Jr.'s relatives on this sad day."
Rodriguez added that Andressian Sr. will enter a not guilty plea Monday morning.
Estevez spoke with NBC4 after a hearing earlier this week in Las Vegas, where the South Pasadena man was arrested last week.
"No justice in the world will bring my Piqui back," Estevez said, using her son's nickname. "However, Ara will pay tenfold for all that he has done."
Andressian Sr.'s former attorney also released a statement to extend his condolences to the boy's family.
"Words are inadequate to express the sadness that I feel upon learning of today's heartbreaking news," the statement read. "I hope that your beautiful memories of little Ara bring you some comfort and peace."
Aramazd Andressian Jr. was last seen on the evening of April 20 at Disneyland in the custody of his father, who was found unconscious at Arroyo Seco Park two days later and was unable to account for his son's whereabouts.
The elder Andressian was initially jailed for three days on $10 million bail before being released. He told investigators he arrived at Arroyo Seco Park with his son on April 22 and waited for the golf course to open. He was found unconscious and without his son. The father said he did not remember what happened to his child or any details that were useful in locating the boy, according to Mendoza, who said a prescription bottle was found inside Andressian's vehicle, which was doused with gasoline inside and out. Andressian admitted ingesting prescription medication that was not prescribed to him, Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza has said.
Andressian was in the middle of a divorce and custody battle with the boy's mother who investigators have said is not a suspect in the child's disappearance.
According to a sheriff's department statement, detectives have examined evidence indicating that in addition to spending April 21 visiting the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area, the father traveled around the area near Solvang and Nojoqui Falls.
On April 28, the day a search warrant was served at his South Pasadena home, Andressian released a statement through his attorney about his son's disappearance, his only public statement.
"I hope and pray for the safe return of my only child, my namesake, who has been missing since last Saturday morning, April 22nd," he said then.
The elder Andressian said he and his family "are heartbroken and grief-stricken that Aramazd Jr. is missing and may be in harm's way."
"I am pleading with the public to come forward with any knowledge of Aramazd Jr.'s whereabouts or information regarding the circumstances leading up to his disappearance,'' he said.
The boy's mother contacted police at 9 a.m. April 22 to report her son missing. She said her estranged husband had failed to drop off the child at a pre-arranged meeting place.