In search for Sky Metalwala, police want more help from mother

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 10, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Mother's route from car to gas station

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BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Police on Wednesday showed signs of frustration with Julia Biryukova's cooperation in the search for her missing two-year-old son, Sky Metalwala.

Late Wednesday evening KING 5 has learned that a victim's assistance expert will be assigned to Sky's father, Solomon Metalwala, and his family.

At two separate press conferences on Wednesday, Bellevue Police Department spokesman Mike Johnson said authorities do not understand why Biryukova continues to decline a request to undergo a polygraph.

“The story doesn’t add up, the whereabouts of Sky are unknown, the mother’s story is falling apart day to day, and her lack of cooperation so far in regard to providing more information proactively and [not] submitting to a polygraph, doesn’t help," Johnson said.

Later in the afternoon press conference, Johnson seemed to backtrack, saying Biryukova's level of cooperation with the investigation is "very high," though "disjointed" and "segregated."

He said Biryukova "has answered each and every question we have posed to her through her attorney," but police would "like to have more direct communication with her."

"We want to believe Julia, we want to help her find her missing child, and we want her cooperation to do that, and at this point, the information that she’s given us has been problematic and has created more questions than answers," he said.

A new detail relayed by Johnson in the afternoon press conference called into question part of Biryukova's account of why she left her son alone in her car. Police found a "sufficient amount of gas" in the car, enough to run it "for a considerable distance," Johnson said. This fact is at odds with Biryukova's account that she left Sky alone in the car after she ran out of gas.

Johnson said police plan to check the car on Thursday to see if there was another mechanical problem that caused it to stop working on Sunday.  They are planning on taking the car for a test drive.

Johnson also was asked about an episode of the NBC series "Law & Order: SVU" that carries a storyline similar to Sky Metalwala's disappearance.

“I’ve heard about the ... episode that has great similarity to this case. I heard that it aired Saturday, the day before the disappearance of Sky. I know that there are several folks up in the operations center ... [who] have commented that it is strikingly similar in nature," he said during the afternoon press conference.

According to an NBC summary of the episode's plot, "A young woman visiting from Buffalo claims that her car was stolen outside a Manhattan convenience store with her baby still buckled in the backseat. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Amaro (Danny Pino) get as much information as they can from the anxious mother and her boyfriend at the police station, while Fin (Ice-T) and Rollins (Kelli Giddish) track their path from Buffalo for clues. When the parents’ stories don’t add up, the detectives must uncover what really happened to the missing baby, and the truth surprises everyone."

Asked if police believe Sky Metalwala is alive, Johnson said: "At this point we hope and believe that Sky is alive and until we have information to indicate otherwise, I think we have to operate under that assumption."

Meanwhile on Wednesday:

* Solomon Metalwala, the boy's father, was scheduled to take a second polygraph. The results of an examination he underwent on Monday were inconclusive, and he agreed to sit to be examined again.

* Metalwala and his attorney were at a mid-day hearing in a Kent courtroom seeking custody of his and Biryukova's four-year-old daughter, who remains in state custody. A state attorney urged the presiding judge to keep Sky's  sister in state custody over concerns about Biryukova's potential influence over the girl's version of events regarding Sky's disappearance.

* Biryukova's divorce attorney, Veronica Freitas, said her client is very distraught and that she had advised her not to attend Wednesday's custody hearing.

* Police have not conducted searches at area landfills, Johnson said. They would not rule out further searches if evidence pointed investigators in that direction, and Johnson confirmed that police have made inquiries about where trash is taken from Biryukova's neighborhood. Sources told KING 5 News Wednesday that authorities had visited two garbage transfer stations and a landfill on Tuesday -- the Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland and the Factoria Transfer Station in Bellevue, as well as the Cedar Hills landfill where garbage that passes through those facilities is buried.

TIPLINE: 425-452-2564

Police would like to hear from anyone who may have travelled along 112th Ave N.E., between SR 520 and NE 24th Ave N.E., Sunday morning between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The missing boy is half South Asian and Caucasian, 2-foot-2 and 39 pounds with brown eyes, a dark buzzcut hair and was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and black and aqua blue sweatpants and white socks.

The car Biryukova drove is a silver 1998 Acura Integra three-door coupe.

Anyone who saw these people or this vehicle on November 6 is asked to call (425) 452-2564 or email pdtipline@bellevuewa.gov.

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