Since her 5-year-old son, Aramazd “Piqui” Andressian Jr., was slain by her ex-husband, Ana Estevez has become an advocate for parents who feel unable to protect their children because of prohibitive child custody laws.
Despite Estevez’s efforts to gain sole custody and allegations of domestic violence against ex-husband Aramazd Andressian Sr., the two agreed to share joint custody of Piqui between their homes in Baldwin Park and South Pasadena, respectively.
In Andressian Sr.’s first week with custody of Piqui, the boy disappeared. His dead body was found months later, and a month later Andressian Sr. pleaded guilty to murdering his son.
Next Thursday, Estevez will head to Sacramento as Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, presents a resolution before the State Assembly that, inspired by Piqui’s death, would create a closer link between domestic violence and child abuse, especially when related to family courts.
“This resolution is the first of many necessary steps to stop the injustices that occur in family courts and with child protective services,” Estevez wrote in a Facebook post published Tuesday.
Specifically, the resolution, HR 113, calls for all court-related professionals to be trained in recognizing, evaluating and understanding evidence and impacts of domestic violence and child abuse, for a court reporter to record all hearings in contested custody cases with records available to all litigants and for the family courts to make decisions to ensure that when a child reports witnessing domestic violence or being injured or abused, his or her safety is given priority over any prior custody or visitation decisions.
Rubio said she wanted to bring forth the resolution because she feels a special connection to Estevez and Piqui, who lived in Baldwin Park when the murder took place.
The assemblywoman said Piqui’s case highlights the oft-overlooked effects that domestic violence can have on children.
“It is my hope that by drawing more awareness to this case, we can garner support for legislation dealing with how we handle domestic violence as a society both through the courts and through providing services to survivors,” Rubio said in a statement.
In her Facebook post, Estevez asked for help from anyone reading the post to call State Assembly members to encourage them to support the resolution. She also said she was blessed for having so many people around her who have offered support.
“I am blessed with family and friends who love and support me, I am blessed that so many people have come to love my son, and ultimately, I am blessed that I was chosen to be Piqui’s momma for 5 years, 2 months and 2 days,” Estevez wrote.