Kirkland father, community to release balloons into the Bellevue sky for missing 2-year-old
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
February 17, 2012 · Updated 8:22 AM
One of the most important parts of searching for a missing person is not letting the subject fall to the wayside. After the original story has played out and the trail runs cold, it is difficult to get tips from the public when the story gets lost in the natural changes of the news cycle.
For Kirkland resident Solomon Metalwala, the search for his missing son Sky will take a new turn Feb. 18 with a vigil for the 2-year-old boy. The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Bellevue Downtown Park, 10301 N.E. Fourth St., across the street from Bellevue Square Mall.
“(We are) learning from other families who have suffered the same loss of a child or a loved one,” said Metalwala’s attorney Clay Terry in an email to the Reporter, who also said that Solomon will take part in the event. “With the assistance and balloons suggestion from Jennifer Mau, of Search and Seek, we are going to put this together and make it another event on behalf of Sky.”
The event - which is being organized by New Hampshire-based LostNMissing, Inc., Search and Seek and Terry - will have a balloon release and candlelight vigil.
“We are first going to start with balloons that will have felt-pen messages written on them and released into the sky, allowing those who wish … to leave a thought or a prayer for Sky,” said Terry, who pointed out that Valentine’s Day will mark the 100th day since Sky’s disappearance.
Search and Seek and LostNMissing, Inc. are organizations that help families of missing people search for their loved ones and keep awareness about the search.
Sky went missing Nov. 6 when his mother, Redmond resident Julia Biryukova, claims he was kidnapped from her unlocked car in the 2600 block of 112th Ave. N.E. of Bellevue.
She told police that her car ran out of gas and walked to get help with the boy’s 4-year-old sister Maile. Police stated that the car had gas and found no mechanical issues.
Biryukova claims that she was taking Sky to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue because the boy was sick. Bellevue police said that Biryukova has been cooperative but that they have not spoken face-to-face with her since the night of the disappearance.
Biryukova and Solomon Metalwala were in a bitter custody battle prior to the Sky’s disappearance.
Solomon and Terry have stated that they have doubts about the date Sky actually went missing.
“It is unfortunate that we have to use Nov. 6, 2011 as the missing date, but that is all we have since Ms. Biryukova will not step forward and tell the truth about what happened to young Sky,” said Terry.
Neither Terry, nor Solomon, have had any contact with Biryukova since the disappearance and she has still not spoken to police, according to Terry.
“Her brother, who was the one that named Sky and was his favorite uncle, has done absolutely nothing publicly except one statement in early November, in which he said his sister was devastated by the kidnapping,” said Terry. “… The whole family, and the few close friends Julia had, have been deadly silent in any effort to find Sky … These are the same people who leaped gladly to assist Julia with written denunciations of Solomon when the shared custody request of Solomon was denied.”
The community is frustrated with Biryukova's silence as well.
Desiree Clifton of Ellensburg, Wash., created an online petition posted at change.org to have the Bellevue prosecuting attorney arrest Biryukova. The petition had 191 signatures as of Friday morning.
The petition letter states: “Julia is directly linked to the disappearance of Sky and she is withholding critical information that can lead us to him … Arrest her and she will talk!!”
Terry’s law firm sent out 360 letters to local doctors asking if they had treated Sky, who was sick according to Biryukova, and none have seen the boy or his sister during 2011.
Maile Metalwala was taken from her mother after the incident and placed in foster care. She has since been reunited with her father and has also started school.
There have been several searches organized by Solomon, friends, family and Terry’s firm in the Puget Sound area and along the I-5 corridor during the past few months.
Police have also conducted searches of many local parks and other sites of interest. Terry said that he and Solomon have given 125 media interviews, nine of which were national.
“We want … to thank this community, the media, law enforcement, and the multiple and wonderful volunteers who have come from all walks of life to help us search for Sky,” said Terry.
Volunteers posted 3,500 posters during a period of one month in Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah and Kirkland. Using the assistance of Search and Seek, the group has been able to put up 2,000 posters on I-5 from Seattle to Gresham, Ore.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the Bellevue Police tip line at 425-577-5656 or email email@example.com
Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.