BELLEVUE – Frustrated police in Washington state said Tuesday that they were working to trace the steps of a missing toddler’s mother over the past two weeks because her story about the boy’s disappearance makes little sense.
The woman, Julia Biryukova, told investigators that her 2-year-old son, Sky Metalwala, vanished Sunday in Bellevue when she left him sleeping alone in her unlocked car for an hour after it ran out of gas. The 30-year-old claimed she and her 4-year-old daughter walked to a gas station, and when they returned to the car, the boy was gone.
“Given the limited amount of information we have, the fact that there’s really no solid leads to follow up on in regard to where he might be – absolutely, we suspect foul play,” Police Maj. Mike Johnson told reporters. “Nothing about the story adds up. Something else happened.”
When investigators questioned relatives, family friends and neighbors, only Biryukova and the boy’s sister reported seeing him in the past two weeks, said Bellevue police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate.
The girl told police Sunday that her brother had been in the car when they left it, Iafrate said. A detective trained in questioning children interviewed her again Monday, Iafrate said, but “nothing significant” came out of it.
Detectives were working to collect surveillance video from any place Biryukova may have been in the past two weeks, Iafrate said. She has so far declined to take a polygraph examination; neither she nor her lawyer returned calls or emails seeking comment Monday and Tuesday.
Iafrate characterized Biryukova’s interactions with police as “a certain level of cooperation.”
Sky’s disappearance came amid a divorce and custody fight between Biryukova and the boy’s father, Solomon Metalwala. At a mandatory mediation session last week, they reached a tentative agreement that would allow Metalwala to have some visitation with Sky and his older sister, said Metalwala’s lawyer, Leslie Clay Terry III.
Investigators have invited the boy’s relatives to take polygraph tests in hopes of shaking loose any clues to his whereabouts. Metalwala took one Monday night but it was inconclusive; he offered to take another one Tuesday, but Iafrate did not immediately know whether the second test took place.
Biryukova claimed she had been driving to a Bellevue hospital because Sky wasn’t feeling well when the car ran out of gas, police said. The hospital wasn’t the closest one to her home in nearby Redmond, but she reportedly told detectives she liked the Bellevue hospital better.