Investigators of Bellevue’s missing toddler Sky Metalwala case have found what they describe as “something of interest” in the case.
The items were found on Saturday at Watershed Park in Kirkland, over two weeks after Sky Metalwala was reported missing after being left alone in his mother’s broken down car.
Police would not release further details about what items were found but said they were enough for them to call in a forensics team after an overnight search the heavily wooded area.
According to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV, police are not sure if the items are related to the case but have sent them in for analysis.
The items were found shortly after police released new photos of Sky Metalwala and his mother Julia Biryukova in effort to acquire more leads in the case.
Carla Iafrate of the Bellevue Police Department told KOMO-TV: “They found something of interest. We called out our CSI investigators, they showed up and looked at the items.”
Carla Iafrate confirmed rakes and shovels were used in the overnight search of Watershed Park. However, she asked speculation not be made based on the equipment, insisting it was “standard’ for any search and rescue.
“There’s a lot of leaves, it’s pretty wet and damp. There’s a lot of rabbit burrows, so the land is soft back there,” Carla Iafrate said.
Police have had serious questions about Julia Biryukova’ story that she left Sky Metalwala alone in an unlocked car in Bellvue after running out of gas on November 6.
Julia Biryukova’s car had plenty of gas and was running fine, police determined.
Sky Metalwala’s mother had told police it stalled as she was driving her son to the hospital because he wasn’t feeling well, and that she left him inside as she and the boy’s four-year-old sister spent an hour walking to a gas station and calling a friend for help. She told police upon returning to the vehicle, driven by a friend, toddler was missing. The friend called police.
In new photos released on Saturday, Julia Biryukova is seen standing alone in a store wearing the same gray sweat suit she wore on the day she said she left Sky Metalwala in the unlocked vehicle.
Julia Biryukova and her estranged husband, Solomon Metalwala, were cited in 2009 for leaving the boy sleeping in their sport utility vehicle in a Target parking lot in Redmond for 55 minutes. They came out to get him only after police arrived and asked the store to page the vehicle’s owner.
Solomon Metalwala, with whom the mother is in a bitter divorce and custody battle, has said her story is full of holes. He also claimed in divorce documents she had dreamt of strangling the boy.
Police were also looking into whether Julia Biryukova was a member of an online dating service that connects women with “sugar daddies”.
Julia Biryukova, 30, an Ukrainian immigrant, has refused to speak with detectives since the day of Sky Metalwala’s disappearance, but she did acknowledge to police she sometimes left her children alone for extended periods.
Nevertheless, detectives have yet to arrest Julia Biryukova for any crimes they might be able to pin on her, such as making a false police report or recklessly endangering the boy. By giving her some space, they say, they hope to encourage her to cooperate beyond the limited help she’s given.
Investigators have searched Julia Biryukova’s apartment and car with her consent, police said. However, her divorce attorney said she has declined to take a polygraph test because they are unreliable and she is too emotionally devastated.
Sky Metalwala’s father has passed out fliers and voluntarily took polygraph examinations, as did some of his relatives. He warned in a court declaration early this year that his estranged wife’s mental health issues were endangering the children. She alleged that he was domineering and abusive.
In the week before Sky Metalwala disappeared, his parents reached a tentative agreement after a 12-hour mediation session that would allow Solomon Metalwala to have some visitation with the couple’s two children.
But two days later – and two days before she reported her son missing – Julia Biryukova decided to pull out of the agreement, Solomon Metalwala’s divorce attorney, D Michael Tomkins, said last week .