'Items of interest' found in search for missing toddler

'Items of interest' found in search for missing toddler »Play Video
Searchers return to the command post Saturday evening after searching through Watershed Park with rakes and shovels.
KIRKLAND, Wash. - Police searching for a missing toddler found several items of interest Saturday while combing through a Kirkland park for evidence - but it's not yet clear if those items are related to the case, officials said.

Crime scene investigators uncovered several items that are being sent in for analysis but warn there are still no signs of missing 2-year-old Sky Metalwala, whose mother claims he disappeared while she walked to get gas for her car.

The items of interest were found Saturday during a search of Watershed Park in Kirkland - and one discovery was important enough to call in a forensics team.

"They found something of interest," said Carla Iafrate of the Bellevue Police Department. "We called out our CSI investigators, they showed up and looked at the items."

The search teams used rakes and shovels - a potentially grim indicator of what crews were doing in their search for Sky.

"I think that's just standard equipment for any search and rescue," said Iafrate. "There's a lot of leaves, it's pretty wet and damp. There's a lot of rabbit burrows, so the land is soft back there."

Teams closed the park to the public and worked through the day and into the night - then called in crime scene specialists when they stumbled upon possible evidence in the case.

 Sky Metalwala (left) and his mother, Julia Biryukova


Search lights were set up in the park after dark as detectives continued with their investigation into the night.

The extensive search in heavily wooded Watershed Park began just hours after Bellevue police released a series of photos showing Sky's mother, Julia Biryukova, 30, of Redmond and her missing son.

The shots of the mom come from store surveillance cameras - taken in the hours and days leading up to when Sky disappeared.

The images prompted fresh tips - but investigators won't say specifically if that's why they came to the heavily wooded park with shovels and rakes.

So far, police are downplaying the significance of the items collected, saying lab analysis will show if they have any bearing on the case.

Biryukova claims Sky vanished Nov. 6 when she left him sleeping alone in her stalled, unlocked car for an hour while she walked to get gas in Bellevue. But police later determined that the car had plenty of gas at the time and was in good working order.

In the days immediately after the boy's disappearance, searchers combed the areas adjacent to Biryukova's apartment and also around the spot where she left her car parked, but found nothing after repeated searches.

Biryukova herself has declined to speak with police after her initial interview

Police searched several other locations on Saturday - and are searching more sites on Sunday - but the effort at Watershed Park was the largest undertaking.

The items collected Saturday currently are being analyzed.

In the meantime, police continue to ask for more tips from the public.