Police said Sunday that they could make a decision as early as Monday on whether to shift the investigation of the disappearance of 2-year-old Sky Metalwala from a missing person case to a criminal matter.
Bellevue Police Dept. Maj. Mike Johnson told reporters Sunday morning that he planned to discuss the issue with investigators and could have more information about it on Monday morning. He had said on Saturday that police would be talking to prosecutors on Monday about the possibility of charging Sky’s mother for allegedly leaving him alone in her car.
Asked why Julia Biryukova has not been charged yet, Johnson said, “That’s a strategic decision on our part…We appreciate the cooperation—albeit slight at this hour—we appreciate the cooperation we’ve gotten from mom and her attorney and we don’t want to jeopardize that.”
Biryukova told police last Sunday that she left Sky in her car while she and her 4-year-old daughter went for help after she ran out of gas on the side of a Bellevue road. She claimed he was gone when she returned an hour later.
On Sunday morning, police returned to the area where Biryukova abandoned the car—which they have confirmed had gas in it and ran fine, despite what she claimed—and spoke to 20-30 motorists and pedestrians passing through to find out if anybody recalled seeing anything of interest the previous week. Johnson said police got about a dozen new leads from that effort, but he did not know any details about those tips.
Johnson said officers also returned to Biryukova’s Redmond apartment complex on Sunday to see if any neighbors recalled seeing her and Sky on the morning of November 6. He had said last week that investigators were unable to find anyone who saw Sky in the two weeks before he was reported missing besides his mother and sister.
Johnson told reporters that the lack of communication from Biryukova has been frustrating, but investigators were told last week that she was too emotionally devastated to speak with them. He has publicly extended an invitation for her to come in for an interview several times, but he said Saturday that she had not responded.
Two attorneys for Biryukova declined to comment on the case when contacted by Nancy Grace producers.
Johnson said Saturday afternoon that nothing significant was found during a search of Marymoor Park earlier in the day. Police were not directed to the location by a specific tip. According to Johnson, it was just within the one-mile radius around Biryukova’s apartment that the search pattern encompassed.
140 search and rescue personnel scoured areas in Bellevue and Redmond on Saturday with the help of dogs, horses and a helicopter.