Authorities search Marymoor Park for missing 2-year-old Redmond boy
November 12, 2011 · Updated 2:16 PM
Authorities expanded their search for a missing 2-year-old boy to Marymoor Park in Redmond today as the father of Sky Metalwala continued his own separate efforts to locate his son.
The mother's questionable story leading up to Sky's disappearance and a lack of evidence has caused Bellevue police to expand the search for Sky to the 640-acre park near downtown Redmond and the area in Bellevue where he was reported missing.
Authorities have received no information or tips leading to the park, Bellevue Police Major Mike Johnson said at a Saturday morning news at Bellevue City Hall.
Investigators are searching the Marymoor because of its proximity to the downtown Redmond apartment, where the boy lived with his 4-year-old sister and their mother, Julia Biryukova, Johnson said.
Volunteers and authorities from many organizations — including professional trackers with canines, searchers on horseback and the King County dive team — are scouring the massive park, which includes the Sammamish River Trail, in hopes of finding Sky.
Marymoor Park remained open except for one parking lot, which was cordoned off, for the staging area for the mobile command centers.
Investigators are also taking another more expansive look at the area near the 2400 block of 112th Avenue Northeast, where Biryukova told police her son went missing after her car ran out of gas. She told police she left Sky in the car sleeping bundled in a blanket and walked to a nearby gas station with her 4-year-old daughter. When she returned about an hour later, she said Sky was gone.
"We are going to retrace our steps, double check everything and make sure we haven't missed anything," Johnson said.
Investigators remained frustrated that Biryukova, who was in a bitter divorce and custody fight with Sky's father, has refused to meet with them as they have found many holes in her story.
Police this week confirmed the car had enough gas in it to run for a significant amount of time, and technicians test drove the car around midnight on Thursday. Johnson noted the vehicle operated just fine.
At previous briefings, police have said Biryukova has answered investigators’ questions through her attorney, but has declined requests to take a polygraph exam or come down to the station to answer questions, according to Johnson. Investigators haven’t spoken to her since the night of her son’s disappearance.
Police are confident that Biryukova remains in the area and has no intentions of leaving, Johnson said Saturday.
"We don't have any indications that we think she is going to leave the area," he said.
While police have said Biryukova holds to the key to finding Sky, she has not been named a suspect or person of interest in the case.
One theory police may later examine is if Sky’s disappearance was a “spiteful act” by the mother as the boy’s disappearance came at the height of a custody fight and divorce between Biryukova and Metalwala. The two have both accused each other of posing a threat to their children, according to court documents.
Police have not ruled out the possibility that Sky may be with other family or friends of Biryukova, Johnson said.
"If they are secreting Sky, we implore them to let us know this," he said. "It may be a crime to hide him. We're looking into that."
Solomon, on the other hand, has been very helpful and accommodating to police requests, Johnson said.
FATHER CONTINUES SEARCH EFFORTS
Metalwala, who lives in Kirkland with his younger brother, Sam, continued his own search for his son this weekend.
About 30 people gathered at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Saturday morning to help Metalwala hand out flyers in Bellevue seeking information about Sky’s disappearance.
Metalwala’s attorney, Leslie Clay Terry III, formed the people into six groups, sending them to key locations in the city, such as shopping malls. Terry, Metalwala and his brother, Sam, talked with each group before they headed out for the task, instructing them how to approach business owners and to not be upset if they were turned down.
The leafleting wouldn’t cover the city, Terry said, given the size of Bellevue and the number of volunteers available.
Terry also told the group how the media, including Reporter Newspapers, have helped the effort by posting stories each day to keep the public informed. Some individuals noted how they had used their own Facebook accounts to spread the word about the search for Sky.
RULLING OUT SOME LEADS
Investigators have ruled out a couple leads on the case, including a $25,000 ransom note emailed to Sky’s family that police say was “not credible.”
Police also used a search-and-rescue dog on Biryukova’s downtown Redmond apartment that didn’t uncover any “powerful investigative leads,” said Johnson.
In addition, officials determined that a toddler shoe found Thursday near the site where Sky went missing did not belong to him.
Johnson said investigators’ highest priority right now is narrowing down the two-week window between the last time that anyone saw Sky and when he went missing. Johnson said investigators are making some progress on the gathering the details during that two-week window.
"We are getting some answers, which is encouraging," Johnson said Saturday.