Sky's father sends appeal to health providers
The father of missing 2-year-old Sky Metalwala has sent letters to hundreds of doctors, health-care providers and clinics on the Eastside asking if anyone recalls treating or seeing his son in the months leading up to his Nov. 6 disappearance.
Seattle Times staff reporter
When was Sky Metalwala last seen, and by whom?
That's what the father of the missing 2-year-old boy is trying to deduce.
In letters sent to hundreds of doctors, health-care providers and clinics on the Eastside, Solomon Metalwala is asking whether anyone recalls treating or seeing his son during the months leading up to his Nov. 6 disappearance.
The letter is accompanied by a flier with a number of photos of Sky and his 5-year-old sister, as well as a signed form giving physicians permission to release information on the boy.
Metalwala hopes to better pinpoint the last time his son was seen. Soon after the boy was reported missing by his mother, one neighbor told police she had spotted the boy about two weeks earlier.
The boy's mother, Julia Biryukova, told police she was driving with the two children to Overlake Hospital Medical Center on Nov. 6 when the car ran out of gas in the 2600 block of 112th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue. She said she left the sleeping Sky in his car seat while she and her daughter walked for help.
When she returned, she told police, Sky was gone. Since then, police have conducted an extensive search for Sky but have turned up few clues to his whereabouts.
Police have said that Biryukova's story has serious discrepancies. For one thing, the car she was driving was found to have plenty of gas and no mechanical problems.
Biryukova has declined to speak with police despite repeated entreaties. However, she has not been named a suspect nor a person of interest in her son's disappearance.
Police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate said Monday that police continue to focus their investigation on finding the missing child. "We have no new releasable information at this time," Iafrate said.
In the meantime, Solomon Metalwala has become increasingly desperate to find his son.
Biryukova, 30, and Metalwala, 36, were involved in a bitter and contentious divorce and custody battle when the boy disappeared.
The couple's daughter, Maile Metalwala, was taken into protective custody and placed in foster care by Child Protective Services after her brother disappeared. A King County Superior Court commissioner later allowed the girl to live with Solomon Metalwala at his mother's Kirkland home.
Solomon Metalwala was named the custodial parent of both children in December, giving him legal authority to request the medical records, said his attorney, Leslie Clay Terry III.
Terry said Maile weighed only 29 pounds when she was taken into foster care and that she had gained 8 pounds by the time she moved in with her father.
As Metalwala sought to care for her, he discovered she had not been seen by her previous pediatrician or any doctor they could find.
Further, Terry said, their medical carrier has told Metalwala that there have been no claims or requests for insurance payments to health-care providers.
That got them thinking, Terry said.
According to Bellevue police, one neighbor of Biryukova's claimed to have seen both children two weeks before the boy was reported missing in November. But Terry said police have told them there have been no other corroborating sightings of both children.
Terry said that civilian investigators have told Metalwala that information taken from Biryukova's Flickr account indicate that the last posted pictures of the boy were taken at Costco on June 15.
Surveillance pictures of Biryukova that were released by police in December show the mother alone, without her children, Terry said.
"What if we've been 'shuffled' or conned," he said. "What if the boy's been missing much longer than the mother has said? Who has seen Sky and when did they see him?"
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.