BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The parents of a missing toddler are going through a bitter custody battle spanning 20 months -- a drama documented in court papers and online.
Julia Biryukova and Solomon Metwala met in 1997 and separated in 2010, according to court papers.
Immediately after their separation, Biryukova was involuntarily committed to a mental clinic. Doctors diagnosed her with "severe" obsessive compulsive disorder, noting that she would spend "8 hours daily cleaning." But a clinical psychologist later found Biryukova to be an effective parent.
In the summer of 2010, Biryukova filed for a protection order against Metalwala, alleging "physical harm" and "verbal threats," and claiming she was assaulted the previous Christmas.
But Metalwala's attorney said a judge threw out the abuse charges, ruling the allegations were unsubstantiated.
"Just a whole lie," Metalwala said Monday. "She has been lying since day one."
A blog, apparently created by Biryukova, features audio clips that document tense moments when the couple tried to exchange custody of their two kids last year. The two audio recordings, taken in October and November 2010, seem to indicate that the children were not eager to leave their mother. It's unclear if the recordings were secretly taken.
"I think the seven months that you took her away, that really hurt her," Biryukova is heard saying about their oldest daugher. "Now she's very attached and very afraid to lose me again."
In the October recording, Metalwala is heard trying to convince a child to come with him.
"I know you miss mom," he said. "I would love to spend time with you."
He later told Biryukova, "You tell her that I don't want her."
Metalwala said he has not seen his children since January. He had custody of the children for about six months after the couple separated in 2010.