Parents of missing toddler previously cited for leaving child

Parents of missing toddler previously cited for leaving child »Play Video
Sky Metalwala
BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Police searching for a 2-year-old Washington state boy focused their efforts Monday around the home of his mother, who reportedly told investigators she last saw him in her stalled car on a city street as she walked away for an hour to get gas.

The mother, 30-year-old Julia Biryukova, told investigators she left 2-year-old Sky Metalwala alone Sunday as she and her 4-year-old daughter walked a mile to a gas station, Bellevue police said. When she came back an hour later, the boy was gone, she said.

Investigators searched a 20-block area and even went door to door but found no sign of him. The FBI, King County Sheriff's Office and a King County helicopter were enlisted to help.

Officials also said Monday that no gas can was found near the car despite the mother's account that she went to get gas after the car ran out of fuel. The car also started for police.

"I don't understand why she would leave a little baby in the car," said the boy's father, Solomon Metalwala.

But this was not the first incident in which the boy had been left alone in a car. In December 2009, officers in Redmond cited Biryukova and her husband for reckless endangerment after they acknowledged leaving Sky, then 3 months old, in their Cadillac sport-utility vehicle in a Target parking lot on a 27-degree day. A shopper who heard the baby crying called police, and a responding officer reported that the car felt cold.

Paged inside the store, the couple said they had left the baby in the car for about 20 minutes because they didn't want to wake him up.

The case was dismissed early this year after the pair agreed to a year of probation, 40 hours of community service and a 10-week parenting class, said Ian Goodhew, a spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's Office.

According to a declaration filed by the boys' father in February 2011, Biryukova began demonstrating "very odd behavior" in 2008 when she became obsessed with cleaning. He said she had mental health problems and was involuntarily committed to a mental clinic in 2010.

But Biryukova has claimed it is her husband who has issues. In June 2010, Biryukova filed for a protection order on behalf of herself and their two children, saying the man had a severe anger problem, was verbally abusive and that he had beat her for the first time the previous Christmas. The reason was that she had allowed Sky - just 4 months old at the time - to sleep later than expected, she said.

But Solomon Metalwala claims his wife's statements are mere symptoms of her illnesses and hold no truth. He said Biryukova "constantly attacks me in her extra long declarations," which, he believes are "designed to intentionally put me in a bad light."

"I just want my kids to be safe. I want Sky to come home," the man told KOMO News on Monday.

The couple had been together for 14 years, married since 2003 and separated in March 2010, court records show. They have since filed for divorce.