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More than 60 people participate in vigil for missing Sky Metalwala in downtown Bellevue
Balloons dotted the Bellevue skyline Saturday night during an event to bring awareness and hope to the case of a missing 3-year-old boy.
More than 60 people endured the wind and rain to attend the candle-light vigil and balloon release for Sky Metalwala.
“Do you see how cold it is?” asked Solomon Metalwala, Sky’s father. “I’m frozen. These people, especially Search and Seek, are amazing.”
The organization Search and Seek helped Metalwala, along with his attorney Clay Terry, to put together the event and keep attention on the missing-person case.
“I am overwhelmed,” said Solomon. “It is amazing how generous people are in the concern they have showed for Sky.”
The event began with everyone taking a bundle of balloons, writing a message to Sky and releasing them into the air. From there volunteers handed out candles to all the participants as Solomon gave a speech about his son, the case and gave thanks to those who are helping in the search.
“We have passed out over 5,500 posters from Oregon to Canada,” said Solomon. “For all of you volunteers we sincerely appreciate everything you have done and will do until Sky is found.”
In his gratitude, Solomon joked that he may not have braved the cold for such an event, as the people in attendance had for his son.
“We will not ever give up on Sky and with your help and prayers we will bring him home,” said Solomon.
Solomon said that he did not have a chance to write anything on the balloons that he released as he was greeting family and media prior to the beginning of the event. But he had a Bible passage ready to write on the balloon for Sky.
Jennifer Mau, a founder of Search and Seek and organizer for the event, encouraged people to change their Facebook profile photo to that of the missing boy. She told the crowd that all they need is one person who knows where Sky is to come forward.
“We have helped to bring kids home for three years,” said the college student from Morton, Wash. “It was great to have all of these people here, but honestly it would have been okay if it was just one person. We just want to see Sky come home. I want to be there to give him the biggest hug in the world.”
People came from all around the Eastside for the event.
“The first time I heard the story it just struck my heart,” said Lora Peterson with websluths.com, an organization that helps to find missing people. “I could never imagine what Solomon is going through.”
Many of Solomon’s friends from his church were also in attendance.
“I hold out the promise that God is with Sky,” said Megan Meinecke of Redmond. “I think that the turnout was great.”
Solomon’s attorney, who has been at his side since the ordeal began, said that he was happy with the turnout.
“We accomplished what we wanted to do,” said Terry, noting that it has been 104 days since the boy allegedly went missing.
At least four local TV news stations and many other media outlets covered the event, bringing awareness to the cause.
But the search for Sky has continued with few positive results. Terry said that they sent out 360 letters to Eastside doctors asking if they had treated Sky or his sister Maile during the past year. None had seen either child.
“We know that neither of them have had their inoculations so we are concerned for Sky, if he is traveling, that he may get sick,” said Terry.
Solomon was granted custody of Maile during December and is getting caught up on all of her shots, said Terry.
The boy allegedly went missing just over two months ago while in the custody of his mother, Redmond resident Julia Biryukova, who has not talked to media or the police about the disappearance. She and Solomon had been in the midst of a bitter divorce and custody battle for their two children.
Biryukova told police her car ran out of gas the morning of the disappearance, as she attempted to take the boy to the hospital. She left Sky in the unlocked car at the 2400 block of 112th Avenue Northeast while she walked with Maile to get help.
When she returned to the car, approximately an hour later, he was gone. Police later tested the car and found that it had gas and there were no mechanical issues.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the Bellevue Police tip line at 425-577-5656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org