BELLEVUE – Police say Julia Biryukova admits abandoning her son at the side of the road, and likely committing a crime. So why hasn’t she been arrested?
“There may be a strategic reason why,” says UW Professor Mary Fan. The former federal prosecutor has watched the case closely. “You want to make sure you have a strong enough case. If you have someone out and about, you can follow them, see where they go. You have a missing child out there.”
It’s a tactic that has been used in the case involving missing Oregon seven-year-old Kyron Horman. He disappeared from his elementary school in June of 2010 and hasn’t been seen since.
“It seems, from an outsider’s perspective, that they’ve really focused on Terri Horman,” says Kyle Iboshi, a KGW-TV reporter who has covered the case. “Terri Horman is the boy’s stepmother, and was the last person to see him. They’ve looked into her background, her cell phone records, her interaction on social media, everything, and every move she made.”
Fan says if, like in Biryukova’s case, she was arrested, and brought in for questioning. “The target may lawyer up, invoke right to counsel. It complicates things, when you take someone into custody and all sorts of protections kick in.”
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, who is not part of the investigation, agreed with the assessment, and says what Bellevue is doing is not out of the ordinary. “Sometimes you want more time to put your case together,” says Lindquist. “You might want to keep the person talking.”
Lindquist says, based on what we know right now, it is possible Biryukova could face felony or misdemeanor child abandonment charges.