Mother of Missing Child Refuses Polygraph Test

Toddler Sky Metalwala has been missing since Sunday.

November 8, 2011, 5:04 PM

Nov. 8, 2011— -- Julia Biryukova, mother of the 2-year-old toddler who went missing Sunday in Bellevue, Wash., has refused to take a lie detector test, police said today, and detectives are focusing their search on the area surrounding her Redmond apartment.

Biryukova told police she was driving her two children to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue because her younger child, Sky Metalwala, wasn't feeling well. She said she ran out of gas on 112th Avenue, a two-way street that borders Interstate 520, so she and her 4-year-old daughter trekked about a mile to a nearby gas station, Northtowne Chevron Service, leaving Sky in the car.

Police said she then called a friend, who took her to her car about an hour later. But when they returned to the two-door silver Acura, Biryukova said, the boy was gone.

"We continue to invite her to take a polygraph and as of yet she has not taken one," said Bellevue police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate, adding that Sky's mother did allow police to search her car and the inside of her home.

Biryukova is in the middle of a difficult divorce with her husband, Solomon Metalwala. He hasn't seen either of his two children in "several months," police said. Metalwala took a polygraph test Monday, but the results were inconclusive, something Iafrate said is "not unusual." He volunteered to take another test today.

Clay Terry, one of the attorneys representing Metalwala, was not immediately available for comment. But he told ABC News affiliate KOMO that his client is "exhausted" and hadn't slept much since his son disappeared.

The father of two has kept out of the spotlight, making one brief, soft-spoken public statement to reporters Monday outside his lawyer's office, saying, "Please just return him back, like I just said to the police officers, the hospitals and the fire department. Please."

Police have emphasized they aren't naming any suspects yet, but they do suspect "foul play."

"It's been over 48 hours and there's been nobody coming forward telling us where Sky is, so obviously foul play is under consideration here," Iafrate said.

So far, she said, family members have been cooperating with investigators.

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. He was charged with leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle in 2009, in Redmond, Wash., a case that was eventually dismissed after he completed mandatory community service, paid a fine and completed a parenting class.

The Search for Sky Metalwala: Mother's Story Raises Questions

For now, more than 35 detectives from Bellevue, Redmond and the FBI are concentrating on the area surrounding the mother's home.

"We're going to search everything around the area of her home because that's the last place Sky was prior to being in the car," said Iafrate today.

They are also doing forensic work on Biryukova's car, and removing the gas tank to find out how much gas it contains.

Biryukova, who lives in Redmond, could have driven her son to a hospital closer to her home, Iafrate said, but instead felt more comfortable going to the hospital in Overlake.

A gas can wasn't found in Biryukova's car, a detail that "could mean a lot of things," Bellevue police spokeswoman Iafrate told Monday.

Her car showed no sign of forced entry, according to police, who stopped searching the wooded area near the car Sunday evening.

When Iafrate spoke to Biryukova on Sunday evening, "she was quite calm at that time and concerned."

"Over the years that I've been an officer, I'm struck by how people react to a stressful situation and there are many different reactions to stress. Some people are calm and some are hysterical," she said.

A 'Frustrating' Case

"There's not been a whole lot of progress in the investigation, and as you well know, that's really frustrating to us as well," Iafrate told reporters today. "So far we have only been able to locate one person who has seen Sky in the last two weeks and that was a neighbor."

Although one tipster called police after seeing Biryukova's car on the side of the road during the same time period police were notified that Sky was missing, the tipster said nobody was in the car.

Attempts by police to question Biryukova's 4-year-old, who is currently in protective custody, also failed to turn up any clues. She said her brother Sky was in the car.

"I'm hoping that someone's going to call us on a tip line and tell us something that's going to lead us to Sky," said Iafrate. "We're going to work day and night until we can solve the mystery."

Police are erecting three billboards to solicit tips from the public.

"Even if you think you didn't see anything, doesn't matter; we want to hear from you if you were on that road at that time," Iafrate said.

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. to call Bellevue, Wash., police at 425-452-2564 or email