Monday, November 7, 2011

#LisaIrwin : #SkyMetalwala - Police Said The Car Started Right Up


Investigators are asking anyone who may have traveled along 112th Avenue Northeast, between Highway 520 and Northeast 24th Avenue Northeast, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday to call Bellevue police at 425-577-5656.

The couple's 4-year-old daughter, Maile Metalwala, has been taken into protective custody and placed in foster care, according to a spokeswoman for the state's Child Protective Services.
Efforts to reach Biryukova, 30, and her attorney were unsuccessful. Her younger brother, Stanley Biryukova, said she was crying frantically when she called him Sunday afternoon and explained what had happened.

"I'm hoping they'll find the child," he said.

It wasn't the first time Sky had been left unattended in a car, according to court documents.
The child's parents were charged with reckless endangerment in 2009 after leaving Sky, then 3 months old, in their car while they shopped at a Target store on a 27-degree day. Paged inside the store, the couple said they had left the baby in the car for about 20 minutes because they didn't want to wake him up, but surveillance video showed it was closer to an hour.

Both took parenting classes and completed community service before the case was dismissed in February of this year, court documents show.

Metalwala, 36, said Monday that the incident was a learning experience.

"I really made a mistake," he said during a news conference at his attorney's Bellevue office. "And I learned a very valuable lesson."

Metalwala's family is from Pakistan, and Biryukova, who is Ukrainian, immigrated with her family from Russia when she was 12, court records say.

The two met at Bellevue High School when Biryukova was 15 and Metalwala was 21, according to court records. She became a U.S. citizen at age 19.

In a declaration made by Biryukova, the couple were married on Feb. 10, 2003, in the kitchen of Metalwala's family home in Kirkland because he was facing deportation to Pakistan.

The couple began experiencing financial troubles around the time Sky was born in September 2009. They were hounded by bill collectors and faced foreclosure on a house and condominium, court records say.

Biryukova was committed to three mental-health facilities, the first time on her 29th birthday in March 2010, according to court records. But a psychologist's evaluation concluded three months later that she was not psychotic and suggested she agreed to be committed only "under spousal duress."

One psychologist who evaluated Biryukova wrote later that year that although she was dealing with "a severe form of obsessive compulsive disorder, I do not believe that interferes with her ability to be a compassionate, effective parent to her children."

According to court documents, Metalwala filed for divorce on June 4, 2010, and the proceedings have been bitter, punctuated by accusations on both sides. Both have filed for protective orders against each other, and each has had custody of the two children at times.
Biryukova accused her husband of being controlling and physically and emotionally abusive.
"The most, most recent have been his threats to kill me if I say anything against him or if in any way I proceed with action of seeking custody of our two small children," Biryukova wrote in court documents in June 2010. "I live in constant fear for my life and my children's life."

Metalwala denies the allegations of abuse and says Biryukova invented them to spite him and manipulate the divorce proceedings.

He claimed in court documents that she is mentally unstable and has obsessive compulsive disorder that prevents her from being able to keep food in the house or allow the children to sleep in their beds.

Court records also show that Child Protective Services (CPS) had investigated the couple.
In one instance, Biryukova reported her husband had left bruises on their daughter by striking her, and a social worker told the court there was evidence to support the allegations. A full CPS investigation, however, showed the complaint to be unfounded, according to Metalwala's attorney, Leslie Clay Terry III.

Terry said the mandatory mediation in which the couple participated last week was intended to bring a close to the bitter divorce. Both parties had compromised, he said, and an agreement that granted custody to Biryukova but allowed visitation with Metalwala was signed by both.
"On Friday, she called and said she'd felt pressured and wanted to void it," Terry said.

Metalwala said he is praying that his son simply is being hidden somewhere and that he is safe.

He has a message for whoever may have him.

"Please, sir or ma'am, if you have Sky, please bring him to the police, fire department or the hospital. Thank you for taking care of Sky this long, but please return him."

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983