The father of missing 2-year-old Sky Metalwala was charged with leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle in 2009, Redmond, Wash., prosecuting attorney Larry Mitchell told ABCNews.com today.
The FBI has joined the search for the toddler who has been missing since Sunday morning after his mother, Julia Biryukova of Redmond, said she left him alone for an hour in an unlocked car in Bellevue, Wash.
Biryukova told police she was driving with her two children when she ran out of gas on 112th Avenue, a two way street that borders Interstate 520. So she and her 4-year-old trekked about a mile to a nearby gas station, Northtowne Chevron Service, leaving Sky in the car, she said.
Police said she then called a friend who dropped her off at her car about an hour later. But when they returned to the 2-door silver Acura, Biryukova said, the boy was gone.
There was no sign of forced entry, according to police, who stopped searching the wooded area near the car Sunday.
A gas can wasn't found in Biryukova's car, a detail that "could mean a lot of things," Bellevue police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate told ABCNews.com.
They are now searching the area near Biryukova's home.
"Currently, we're searching in the area around the mother's apartment. Since the last time she saw the child was in her car and [prior to that she] was in her apartment," Iafrate said.
Police said family member have been cooperating with investigators.
Prior Charge for Sky Metalwala's Father
Solomon Metalwala, a Kirkland, Wash., resident, pleaded guilty to leaving a child unattended in 2010 after a December 2009 incident in which Sky, who was 3 months old at the time, was discovered sitting alone in the couple's car in a Target parking lot.
"A citizen noticed and had called the police," prosecutor Mitchell said. "They eventually made contact with the mother and father who were in the store shopping. There was some discussion about leaving the child unattended."
Solomon Metalwala paid a fine, did 40 hours of community service and completed a parenting class, so the case was dismissed in February of this year.
The child's uncle, Sam Metalwala, told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle the boy's parents are going through a divorce after being married for seven years. And for now, all the family can do is hope for a new lead.
"They just told us to wait by the phone, so we're just waiting by the phone to see," he said.
Solomon Metalwala could not be reached for comment.
According to The Associated Press, the couple had been together for 14 years. They married in 2003 and separated in 2010, the same year Biryukova, 30, filed for an order of protection for herself and her children, the AP reported.
She claimed Metalwala, 36, had become abusive.
"He became furious like I have never seen him before, he grabbed me by my hair (in front of our 3 1/2 year old daughter), dragged me into our hallway, threw me down on the floor and then threw me against a decorative column we have in the entrance of our home," Biryukova wrote in court documents obtained by the AP. "He continued to assault me with his feet -- by kicking me and then he took out his car keys and continued to scratch me in any area he could."
According to the AP, Metalwala claimed she had mental health issues and he didn't trust her to care for the children.
Searching for Sky Metalwala
Sky is half Indian and half Caucasian, with brown eyes and dark buzz-cut hair. He was last seen wearing a dark green hooded sweatshirt with blue and gray striped Carter's pants, the same outfit he's pictured in above.
Anyone who sees a child matching this description is asked to call 911 immediately. Police are urging anyone who might have traveled along 112th Ave N.E., between I-520 and NE 24th Ave N.E., Sunday morning between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. is to call Bellevue, Wash., police.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.