BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Bellevue police investigators overnight Thursday test drove Julia Biryukova's 1998 Acura Integra, the car she claimed that had run out of gas and prompted her to leave her 2-year-old son, Sky Metalwala, in Sunday.
KING 5 News followed a squad of investigators as they navigated the Acura along the streets of Bellevue and Redmond. A fleet of undercover police officers followed the Acura, including a detective with a video camera, as police drove the route that Biryukova took Sunday before she said Sky disappeared.
After a two hour test drive, it appeared there were no apparent problems with the car.
Biryukova said she ran out of gas and left Sky alone in the unlocked car to go for help. Police said there was enough gas in the car to drive a considerable distance, but they wanted to check if there was a mechanical problem that would have caused the car to break down.
Bellevue police were expected to give more details on what experts found during that test drive and how police will now look at Biryukova during a 10:30 a.m. news conference Friday. Click back here to watch it live.
Shoe of toddler discovered in area
Thursday evening, Bellevue police and crime scene investigators had gone back to the area where Sky had disappeared.
A shoe of a toddler was found about a quarter of a mile from the scene. A couple who was walking on 112th Street found the shoe and called 9-1-1.
"My daughter spotted a shoe by the side of the road and I wondered if it had anything to do. I came up took a look at it. Yeah, looks like a two-year-old's, better call it in," said Paul Hurd. "It's probably nothing, but who knows. Something small may be the key to solving the whole case."
Bellevue police said there was no confirmation whether the shoe belonged to Sky. Police dogs didn’t pick up Sky's scent when police compared the shoe to other objects that belonged to the missing boy; however, the shoe has not been fully analyzed yet.
Police said they were told Sky didn’t have shoes on when he went missing, but at this point they are checking into anything that might be a clue into his disappearance.
"We've gotta make sure we follow up. We've got a lot of resources, a lot of man hours in this, so if someone calls us up, we're going to look into it," said Bellevue Police Department Officer Carla Iafrate.
Police make a direct request
Police on Thursday used an afternoon press conference to issue a direct request to Biryukova that she sit down with them soon to answer questions about the disappearance of her son.
"I want to make a public invitation to Julia, via her attorney, and let her know that we are open and willing to interview her and take information from her when she is ready to do that," said Bellevue Police Department Maj. Mike Johnson.
The remarks are just the latest made by police signaling their frustration at Biryukova's unwillingness to talk directly with investigators searching for Sky.
"Polygraph or not, we have questions for Julia we'd like to ask, with her attorney present," Johnson said later in the press conference,
Biryukova has declined requests to undergo a polygraph exam, and she has responded this week to investigators' questions through her attorney.
Meanwhile, Sky's father, Solomon Metalwala, said he believes Sky is still alive and that he doesn't believe Biryukova's account of how the boy went missing.
"I one hundred percent believe ... that my son is out there and that he's going to come back home," he said.
"I do believe Julia is responsible" for whatever happened to Sky, Metalwala said, adding he doen’t understand Biryukova's reluctance to talk with police.
"I'm shocked, as you guys are shocked... I'm puzzled, as you guys are puzzled. What is she doing?" he said.
Metalwala also confirmed he will undergo a second polygraph at Bellevue Police Headquarters. Metalwala sat for a polygraph on Monday, but the results were inconclusive, a result that Metalwala's attorney blamed on fatigue and stress.
Court documents show Biryukova left both her children unattended for several hours last Tuesday when Biryukova attended a lengthy divorce mediation session with Metalwala.
Johnson said Thursday that Biryukova is not a suspect or person of interest at this time.
"At what point does Julia become a person of interest or a suspect, or anyone in the case for that matter?" Johnson said rhetorically. "[It's] a question that I have as well and we're going to talk about today and get our heads around that issue," he added.
Police would like to hear from anyone who may have traveled 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 email@example.com.