Seattle Missing Child Case Like a Bad Episode of Law & Order

An ongoing investigation in the state of Washington rings similar to the infamous disappearance of Caylee Anthony. 

Police in a Seattle suburb are on the lookout for two-year-old Sky Metalwala. The boy’s mother, Julia Biryukova, 30, of nearby Redmond, told investigators that her son went missing on November 6 after her car stalled. As she left to get gas in nearby Bellevue, Biryukova told police she left the toddler inside her unlocked vehicle while her four-year-old-daughter and she walked to town for gas. When Biryukova allegedly returned an hour later, the child was gone. 

Detectives later conducted an examination of Biryukova’s vehicle and determined that the Acura Integra was not low on fuel.  Police believe the car could have driven significantly further with the amount of fuel in the tank. 

For just over a week now, searchers checked the area adjacent to Biryukova’s residence and the surrounding area where her vehicle supposedly stalled. 

Then, yesterday, based on tips generated by members of the public, investigators expanded the geographical nature of the search. 

One area investigators continue to scour is Watershed Park, located in the Houghton area of Kirkland—a secluded wooded-preserve complete with hiking trails. Mountain bikers and hikers frequent this 73-acre park, known for its natural green spaces and upland forest.   

“We believe there’s something suspicious afoot here,” Bellevue Police Major Mike Johnson told The Seattle Times. “The story doesn’t add up.”

Considering that Julia Biryukova and her “estranged husband” had just completed a heated custody battle involving their son just a week before he went missing, Maj. Johnson’s quote is probably an understatement. 

So where will investigators turn next?

Local police agencies will bring in trained cadaver dogs to search Watershed Park and other relevant areas. Besides tips from the public, information provided from a high-tech, smart-phone computer forensics device, known as The Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED 2.0), will likely be used to search Biryukova’s cellular telephone. This Big Brother technology will bypass a cellular telephone’s pass code and then retrieve geo-tagged photos, the owner’s list of contacts, deleted or undeleted text messages, GPS locations, and a list of all incoming and outgoing calls. 

Sadly, as each day passes, the likelihood that Sky Metalwala is still alive decreases exponentially. While the twists-and-turns of a high-profile investigation become fodder for the press, it is important to reflect on the plight of the victim. Children place the ultimate trust in their parents to care for their needs.  Even wild animals attend to and fiercely defend the lives of their young.  Each year in the U.S., though, this bond is broken about 1,000 times, as young child become homicide victims at the hands or a parent or guardian.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

 © Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011

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