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December 5, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Missing boy's father to regain custody of daughter

Sky Metalwala

Solomon Metalwala, father of missing Sky Metalwala, has moved one step closer to regaining custody of his 4-year-old daughter.

During a hearing in Kent this morning, Metalwala was awarded custody of Maile Metawala as soon as a domestic-violence protection order against Metalwala is rescinded or modified. The order was obtained falsely by Metalwala’s estranged wife, Julia Birykova, during their contentious divorce, according to Metalwala’s attorney.

The protection order could be modified as soon as this week. The hope is that Metalwala will be reunited with his daughter by Dec. 18, the girl’s fifth birthday.

Metalwala attended the hearing, but Biryukova did not. The court commissioner also granted Biryukova visitation rights, but under strict guidelines.

Maile has been in state foster car since Sky disappeared on Nov. 6 after Biryukova said she left him alone in a disabled car in Bellevue. Metalwala and Biryukova have been fighting for custody of their two children during a yearlong divorce battle.

Biryukova, 30, of Redmond, told police she was driving Sky to Overlake Hospital Medical Center on the morning of Nov. 6 because the boy was sick. She said the car ran out of gas in the 2600 block of 112th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue, so she left the sleeping toddler in the unlocked car and walked with Maile to a gas station.

When she returned, Sky was gone, she said.

An examination of the car later revealed there was still enough gas in the car “to run a significant distance,” according to Bellevue police Maj. Mike Johnson. The car, which belongs to Biryukova’s brother, also had no obvious mechanical defects, Johnson said.

“We believe there’s something suspicious afoot here,” Johnson said after the car was tested. “The story doesn’t add up.”

Police also questioned why Biryukova would leave Sky in the car, especially after she was cited along with her husband for leaving the boy in a car for nearly an hour in a store parking lot in 2009.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Bellevue, Redmond, Sky Metalwala

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