Exclusive: Taxpayers support the mother of a missing Bellevue toddlerNovember 20, 2012 @ 11:41 am (Updated: 4:10 pm - 11/20/12 )
Julia Biryukova told police her car ran out of gas in the 2600 block of 112th Ave. N.E. in Bellevue. She left her sleeping son Sky Metalwala, who was two years old, alone in the unlocked car. She then walked to a gas station with her daughter to get help. When they returned to the car, he was gone.
After she reported Sky missing, November 6, 2011, she talked with police investigators for 10 hours.
"Do we know more today than we did yesterday about what happened to him? I would say no we don't, Bellevue Police Major Mike Johnson said days after Sky disappeared.
Over a year later, they don't know what happened to the little boy.
Johnson hinted last year there could be a criminal investigation coming.
"We're not comfortable calling her a person of interest or a suspect. There's a lot of work going on," Johnson said. "At some point it would not be unlikely this would become a criminal investigation, however, we're not yet there."
They're still "not yet there."
Police tell me Biryukova was not charged with neglect or any other minor crime related to Sky's disappearance because there could still be more serious charges to come.
Meanwhile, Biryukova has qualified for housing assistance according to a tip to The Ron and Don Show which I've verified. She's receiving free rent at a high end, secure apartment building in Redmond.
That angers Clay Terry, an attorney for Sky's father Solomon Metalwala.
"Julia just doesn't want to work. I'm convinced of that. I was convinced of it when I was representing Mr. Metalwala. All she counted on was wanting more child support, more personal maintenance," Terry says.
"She did not want to do any work on her own, claiming that she had to take care of the children. That may have been a very legitimate reason, because that is a full-time job, but when she got out of the responsibility of taking care of the children, suddenly she's incapable of working and taxpayers have to support her."
As recently as November 1, 2012 Biryukova lists "child support" as her only income, in documents I've obtained.
Solomon Metalwala has custody of the couple's daughter Maile, and he has not paid child support since November of 2011.
She did not pay income taxes for 2011 and signed a statement (dated 11-01-2012) that she is not employed.
Terry says beyond the money taxpayers are spending to support Birykova, they are also paying for a police investigation that seems futile.
"That story about the child being kidnapped is a phony, it's a fake, it never existed, it never happened, it's an outright lie," says Terry. "Everyone connected with this case as far as I know believes it's a lie, even though they've had to spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars investigating it because of the remote possibility that it might have been true."
"We know in our hearts, Solomon and I know in our hearts, that Julia knows exactly what happened to Sky, but because she won't say anything enormous amounts of money are going into efforts to try to find the child or to look for some clues. I'm sure it's into the millions of dollars by now."
On TV shows like CSI and Law and Order, police have ways to pressure people in to talking. The Bellevue PD says it doesn't work that way in the real world. They would like to speak with Biryukova, but she doesn't have to talk.
Terry doesn't think anything will compel Birykova to give police more information about Sky's disappearance.
"She has the right under the United States and Washington Constitution not to testify, not to say anything to the police," says Terry. "She has retained an attorney and he has given her advice not to talk. There is nothing anyone can do to make her talk."
Her attorney also did not return calls to talk about this story.
Sky's father and sister are now approaching a second Thanksgiving without him.
"Do I want to believe that he's dead? What proof do I have?" says Solomon Metalwala
There's no proof his little boy is dead, so Metalwala chooses to believe Sky will come home.
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