REDMOND, Wash. -- Parents of the Bellevue toddler who has been missing since Sunday were cited for reckless endangerment nearly two years ago after leaving the boy alone in a car for almost an hour in below freezing temperatures.
KING 5 News obtained the police reports from the December 10, 2009, incident at the Redmond Target through a public records request.
It was a witness in the parking lot of the store who called 911 that evening when he saw Sky Metalwala, strapped into his car seat inside his father's SUV, "crying to the top of his lungs."
Sky disappeared last Sunday from 112th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue, after his mother, Julia Biryukova, claimed her car ran out of gas, forcing her to leave the boy in his car seat inside the car while she went for help.
Both Metalwala and Biryukova were cited with reckless endangerment following the 2009 incident. Charges were never filed, however, because Metalwala and Biryukova took parenting classes, recommended by Child Protective Services.
The witness who called 911 told officers he could see that Sky was covered with a blanket inside the SUV, but he estimated the temperature to be "extremely cold," possibly as cold as 16 degrees.
When a Redmond Police officer arrived on the scene, he noted the baby was not crying, but saw him move inside the vehicle. The officer said the hood of the SUV was cold to the touch, suggesting it had been parked for more than a few minutes.
Police later determined after watching surveillance video that Sky was inside the SUV alone for 55 minutes.
After being paged by the store, the officer said Metalwala came outside and admitted he and Biryukova knowingly left Sky inside the SUV.
"I knew. Of course I knew. There's no excuse," Metalwala told the officer.
Metalwala said Sky was sleeping when they arrived at the store, so he and Biryukova took their then 3-year-old daughter with them into Target, but left Sky sleeping in his car seat. Metalwala told the officer they had only been gone for about 20 minutes.
The officer said Biryukova also admitted to leaving her son alone in the SUV.
"Yes. He was sleeping. He was wrapped up," she told the officer.
Sky was checked over by officers and determined to be OK.
The witness who called 911 said he left the scene without making contact with police because he wanted to give them "space to operate."