A Washington boy, Sky Metalwala, has been missing since Sunday, and now, police have turned their search to his mother’s intentions.
The police and FBI have joined forces to search for the child or kidnapper, but as of yet have found nothing. Now, they say, they are shifting their sights to a more likely culprit: Julie Biryukova, Sky’s mother.
"Given the limited amount of information we have, the fact that there's really no solid leads to follow up on… we suspect foul play," said Bellevue police Maj. Mike Johnson to KING-TV.
The mother of the child, Julie Biryukova, claims that her car ran out of gas while driving with her two children. She decided to walk a mile to a gas station with her daughter, while she left Sky buckled up in the car. The doors were unlocked, according to the mother.
When she and a friend came back over an hour later, Biryukova says Sky had vanished.
Solomon Metalwala, Sky’s father, came forward, saying, “I think this is some kind of game she's playing. I don't know. I don't know what she is thinking,” KCPQ-TV reported.
The two parents have been involved in a legal dispute over custody of their two children, four-year-old Maile and two-year-old Sky. Rights to custody had been granted to Julie, with Solomon having visitation privileges.
Solomon says it’s “puzzling” as to why the mother would leave their 2-year-old alone in a car during the winter, and take her daughter with her.
The couple had been married from 2003 to 2010, and then separated; Julie says Solomon has an anger problem, abusing her in the past, while Solomon says Julie is mentally ill.
Either problem could have contributed to Sunday’s sad occurrence, especially since it is not the first time the pair has temporarily deserted the child.
In Redmond in 2009, both parents were charged with reckless endangerment for abandoning Sky; the mother and father had gone shopping in Target, leaving 3-month-old Sky in the car for an hour alone.
Police had to page the parents to retrieve their child.
A parenting class and community service were ordered for the two, and the case was dismissed earlier this year.
Officer Carla Iafrate of the Bellevue Police Department stated, “All possibilities of what may have happened to the child are being investigated,” according to the Seattle Times.