Police ask missing boy's mom to come in to talk

AP News
Posted: Nov 10, 2011 8:15 PM
Police ask missing boy's mom to come in to talk

Investigators on Thursday asked the mother of a missing Washington boy to voluntarily come into the police station to answer more questions.

Julia Biryukova isn't a suspect or even a person of interest, but police believe she has key information that could help them find her 2-year-old son, Bellevue police Maj. Mike Johnson said Thursday.

Police haven't talked to Biryukova face-to-face since she reported her son disappeared from her car on Sunday, although they have asked her questions through her lawyer.

Police say they have no productive leads in the case, despite a steady stream of tips from the public. But Johnson says he hopes those tips will continue to come in.

"The most obscure detail may be relative in this case," Johnson said.

Police investigators have crossed a number of things off their list of possibilities, in part because friends of the family have come forward to talk to the police and take polygraph tests, he added.

Meanwhile, the boy's father told a radio station Thursday that he cannot trust his wife to not hurt their son.

"Julia wants to hurt me, wants to have me suffer," Solomon Metalwala, told KOMO. "She knows how much I love my kids and tried to make me suffer throughout this dissolution, divorce."

The disappearance of Sky Metalwala came amid a bitter divorce and custody fight in which both parents have accused each other of hurting the children.

Biryukova has told police that the boy vanished Sunday after her car ran out of gas and she left him sleeping alone while she walked to get gas. Investigators have since determined that the car had gas, but haven't ruled out another mechanical problem.

Bellevue police searched a storage locker at Biryukova's apartment on Wednesday and planned to focus Thursday on checking the car for mechanical problems, Bellevue police Maj. Mike Johnson said.

Tips have come in from hundreds of miles away, from members of the public and from one psychic. Two officers are processing the information, but none of the tips has provided any useful clues, police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate said.

During a tough mediation session that lasted about 12 hours last week, the parents reached a tentative agreement that would allow Metalwala to have some visitation with Sky and his older sister.

But two days later _ and two days before she reported her son missing _ Biryukova decided to pull out of the agreement, Metalwala's divorce attorney, D. Michael Tomkins, said Wednesday. In a letter sent by her attorney, Biryukova insisted that everyone at the mediation session had been against her and the settlement was unfair, Tomkins said.

The children didn't attend the marathon session, and it's possible they were left home alone for the entire time _ raising the possibility that Sky could have become dehydrated, Tomkins said.

Papers filed in the divorce say that Biryukova suffered from "severe" obsessive-compulsive disorder. Metalwala wrote in a declaration that she would frequently go on 10-hour cleaning binges during which she wouldn't even feed the children, but a doctor reported that her diagnosis didn't interfere with her ability to care for the kids.

Biryukova acknowledged having a history of leaving the children home alone for extended periods of time, Johnson said. Police know whether she did so during the lengthy mediation _ but won't release that information.

If Sky was left in the car, it wouldn't have been the first time.

When he was 3-months-old, his parents left him in their SUV in a Target parking lot for 55 minutes on a 27-degree day, court records showed. The couple came out of the store to get Sky only after police arrived and asked for the vehicle's owner to be paged.

Redmond police cited both parents for reckless endangerment in the December 2009 incident. However, 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.