Written by Ben Clark
Photos by Thomas Forman
Hundreds of mourners gathered at the LA Arboretum on Wednesday, July 19, to honor a South Pasadena five-year-old boy, whose remains were located last month. Known as “Piqui” by his family and friends, communities and police departments from all over Southern California worked to help locate the missing child, and, when his body was found near Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara, they gathered in solidarity with Piqui’s mourning family.
Piqui’s mother, Ana Estevez, addressed the crowd at the Arboretum with dignity and respect, starting by thanking the audience for their support during the search for her son. After that, she and other relatives and close friends lovingly recalled the memories of Piqui making cupcakes for his uncle and the excitement that he had when he told his kindergarten class that his mother was the principal.
“Piqui was my inspiration and represented everything good in my life,” Estevez said. “I’m so proud and honored that I was chosen to be his mama,” she continued in a soft voice.
The day previous to the public memorial, a private funeral reception was held for Piqui at the Holy Family Church in South Pasadena. Outside the church, multiple streets were blocked off for the funeral; police cars from departments that assisted with the search lined Fremont Street, a gesture of honor for Piqui, who adored police officers.
Across the street, news casters and cameras watched intently as afternoon turned to evening, and police officers lined the steps outside Holy Family’s chapel. Estevez was guided to the entrance by South Pasadena Police Chief Arthur Miller, who led the initiation of the search. After the grieving mother passed through the doors, four men carried a small white casket up the steps and into the chapel. Fremont, usually one of the most bustling streets in South Pasadena, was nearly silent.
Piqui first disappeared on April 21 when his father Aramazd Andressian Sr, who was supposed to return him to the custody of of his mother, was found unconscious in the Arroyo Seco Park. Andressian, who police believe attempted to commit suicide with prescription pills, was initially detained but released as a result of a lack of evidence in his involvement. However, Andressian was arrested again when the body of Piqui was found in the Cachuma Lake area after two months of searching.
When Estevez spoke at her son’s public memorial, she called for everyone at the arboretum to honor Piqui’s legacy by loving each other despite their differences.
She asked the rows of mourners to live with happiness in their lives, saying, “[Piqui’s] legacy is worthwhile. My son is worthwhile.”