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Originally published November 11, 2011 at 9:07 PM | Page modified November 12, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Missing 2-year-old's dad grieves as hope dims

With the passage of time, Solomon Metalwala is beginning to fear his missing 2-year-old son Sky may no longer be alive, and Metalwala sobbed inconsolably for three hours Thursday night, said his attorney, Leslie Clay Terry III.

SeattleTimes staff reporter

Have you seen Sky?

Anyone with information on Sky Metalwala's disappearance is asked to call the Bellevue Police Department tip line at 425-452-2564, or email pdtipline@bellevuewa.gov.

Editor's note

Commenting has been disabled because of the sensitive nature of this story.

Up until Thursday, Solomon Metalwala had been clinging to the idea his 2-year-old son was alive.

He made TV appearances, went to court and made plans to hand out fliers with photos of his missing son.

He was convinced his estranged wife, Julia Biryukova, had hidden the boy with a relative or friend to spite him because of their ongoing custody battle.

"She has done something with him to hurt me," he said earlier this week.

Police, too, have been operating on the presumption Sky Elijah Metalwala is alive.

But with the passage of time, Metalwala is beginning to fear his son may no longer be alive, and he sobbed inconsolably for three hours Thursday night, his attorney, Leslie Clay Terry III, said Friday.

Police, too, say hopes dim as time passes.

Bellevue police Maj. Mike Johnson said the child's death "is a real possibility," given the amount of time that's passed.

"The reality of this is that Sky may have fallen into some very unfortunate circumstances," he said Friday. "As much as we don't like to think about it or talk about it, it's a reality."

Johnson reiterated that police are "baffled" by Biryukova's story and "frustrated with the lack of information coming from her."

Biryukova told police she was driving her sick son to a hospital in Bellevue on Sunday morning when she ran out of gas. She said she left the sleeping boy in the car while she walked with her 4-year-old daughter to a gas station. When she returned about an hour later, Sky was gone, she said.

A test of the car revealed it still had gas in the tank and had no mechanical problems, Johnson said.

Biryukova's attorney, Robert Flennaugh, did not return numerous calls seeking comment.

Terry, Metalwala's attorney, declined to release the results of his client's second polygraph test, taken Thursday. He said he needed to iron out a few matters with law-enforcement officials before doing so.

Police also refused to discuss the polygraph results.

Johnson said police have ruled out a connection between Sky's disappearance and a child's shoe found Thursday night near where Biryukova said he disappeared.

Johnson said investigators have "some activity" planned for the weekend, but he would not be more specific, saying he didn't want to compromise the investigation. It's unclear if the activity involves a search of the location where Biryukova said she last saw her son or of their apartment.

While investigators have received more than 300 tips and have been able to eliminate a number of relatives and family friends as potential suspects, Johnson said they are really no closer to finding Sky than they were on Sunday.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com

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