Solomon Metalwala and supporters released balloons into the sky Saturday as a reminder to the community that his lost toddler, Sky Metalwala, is still missing.
A balloon release and candlelight vigil at Bellevue's Downtown Park marked the 104th day since Sky was reported missing by his mother, Julia Biryukova.
Metalwala said he has not given up on someone knowing where his son is, or someone spotting the 2-year-old.
"It only takes one person to point out, 'Look, maybe that's Sky,' " he told Patch.
The event was organized with Search and Seek, a volunteer organization based in Morton, Wash., that is dedicated to finding missing children.
"We're in this for the long haul," said Sharon Mitchell, who organized the group along with Jennifer Mau.
Metalwala thanked the media, including television and radio stations, print and web media, and cable channels including CNN and HLN, which features host Nancy Grace, for keeping the story alive locally and nationwide.
Metalwala also asked the people gathered to pray for the safe returns of other missing children, including Lindsey Baum of McCleary, Kyron Horman of Oregon and others.
Sky has been missing since Biryukova, who is divorced from Metalwala, told Bellevue Police that she left her son in the car early one Sunday on a Bellevue street when she ran out of gas. She told police he was gone when she and a friend returned to the car several hours later.
However, police could not corroborate her story of her car breaking down, and said that it had been at least two weeks prior to his disappearance since anyone apart from Biryukova had reported seeing the boy.
After the initial interviews, Biryukova stopped talking voluntarily to police, the Bellevue Police reported. However, Biryukova has not been named a suspect.
Metalwala and his attorney, Clay Terry, have worked with hundreds of volunteers to distribute fliers all over the Eastside and up and down Western Washington in search for information over the past three months, and Terry and the Metalwala family have searched for other clues and witnesses who may have seen the boy to come forward.
Terry said that the fliers and media attention have worked—and witnesses have come forward to narrow down the last time anyone other than Biryukova reported seeing the boy.
But Terry said that Biryukova's family, including her brother, whose car she borrowed on the day she reported Sky missing, have been estranged from Metalwala and his family and have not offered to help at all.
"This used to be a close relationship with the brother. Solomon used to babysit Julia's brother," Terry said.
Sky and his 4-year-old sister were at the center of a bitter custody battle between their estranged parents. Metalwala won custody of their daughter in December.
He has been caring for his daughter, Maile, now 5 years-old, full time.
"She needs her dad real bad," Terry said last week.
Maile sometimes will talk about her brother, Metalwala said.
"It's nice when she talks about him. It gives me a little more of insight of how he's kind of developed," Metalwala said. "That's very special to my heart."
Sky Elijah Metalwala
- Age 2, 2’10” tall, 39 pounds, black hair, brown eyes.
- Sky was last seen on Nov. 6, 2011, in the 2600 block of 112th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, WA.
- He was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, black and aqua blue sweatpants and white socks.
- Sky was in a silver 1998 Acura Integra three door coupe when he disappeared.
- Police ask anyone who was traveling morning of Nov. 6 along 112th Avenue Northeast, between State Route 520 and Northeast 24th Street, to please call the Bellevue Police tip line at 425-577-5656 or email them at email@example.com