Documents: Missing 2-year-old Wash. boy left alone before
Julia Biryukova, the mother of 2-year-old Sky Metalwala, told investigators she left her son alone Sunday as she and her 4-year-old older daughter walked a mile to a gas station, Bellevue police said. When she came back an hour later, she says the boy was gone.
It's not first time the boy has been left alone in a car. In December 2009, when sky was just 3 months old, court records reveal his parents left him in their sport utility vehicle in a Target parking lot for 55 minutes on a 27-degree day. They only came out of the store to get him after police arrived and asked for the vehicle's owner to be paged. Redmond police cited both parents for reckless endangerment.
The case was dismissed early this year after the pair completed a year of probation, 40 hours of community service and a 10-week parenting class.
The toddler's disappearance Sunday in Bellevue, a city of 122,000 across Lake Washington from Seattle, came at the height of a custody fight between his parents, Julia Biryukova and Solomon Metalwala. They separated in March 2010 amid back-and-forth protective orders and allegations of abuse and psychiatric problems.
Last December, a social worker determined that there was a "preponderance of evidence" that Metalwala had struck his daughter hard enough to cause bruising, court records show. The social worker also said Sky had troubling bruises, but because the boy could not talk, it wasn't clear where he got them. However the attorney for Metalwala, Leslie Clay Terry III, said Monday that case worker had only interviewed the mother and that Child Protective Services later conducted an investigation that cleared Metalwala.
Last week, at a mandatory mediation session, a tentative agreement was hammered out that would allow Metalwala to have some visitation with Sky and his older sister, his lawyer said.
Investigators searched a 20-block area and even went door to door but found no sign of him. There was no gas can at the car, police said.
The Bellevue Police Department said both parents were cooperating, and Biryukova had consented to have her vehicle and home in nearby Redmond searched. The older child has been placed in protective custody.
"We're looking at it from all angles, at this point," said Bellevue Police Maj. Mike Johnson. "Missing person, abduction, foul play has not been ruled out."
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