UPDATE, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 5: The father of missing 2-year-old Sky Metalwala will get custody of his 4-year-old daughter, Maile Metalwala.
A court commissioner approved of the arrangement during a state custody hearing Monday in Kent, provided that a domestic violence protection order against Solomon Metalwala is rescinded or modified, The Seattle Times reports.
The order was obtained falsely by Metalwala’s estranged wife during their contentious divorce, according to Metalwala’s attorney, Clay Terry, the newspaper reported.
The protection order could be modified as soon as this week. The hope is that Solomon Metalwala, of Kirkland, will be reunited with his daughter by Dec. 18, the girl’s fifth birthday, The Times reported.
Solomon Metalwala attended the Monday hearing, but Biryukova did not.
The Metalwala children have been the subject of a bitter custody dispute, which saw both parents launch accusations of abuse at each other. The two had reached a settlement the week before Sky disappeared on Nov. 6, but, according to Terry, .
The state reports receiving "hundreds" of messages supporting the reunion of Sky Metalwala's sister, Maile, and their father, Solomon Metalwala, after a national parent's rights group started a national campaign.
Maile Metalwala, 4, has been in foster care since her two-year-old brother, Sky, . A hearing in King County Superior Court on Monday will determine whether she remains in foster care.
Biryukova, who lived with her children in the , told the Bellevue Police that she and Maile left Sky strapped in a car seat in the Aucra Integra she drove when it ran out of gas in the Northtowne neighborhood of Bellevue. When she, Maile and a friend returned to the car a few hours later, the friend noticed Sky missing and called 9-1-1. Bellevue police have cast doubt on Biryukova's story, saying that the car did not appear to have any mechanical trouble, and have asked witnesses who have seen Sky in the month before his reported disappearance to come forward.
Biryukova and her ex-husband, Solomon Metalwala of Kirkland, had been in a bitter custody dispute over their children, . The couple have exchanged accusations of abuse about each other.
Fathers and Families, a group that campaigns for gender equity in custody suits, has started an e-mail and fax campaign to reunite Maile with her father. The group writes on its website:
Washington Department of Social and Health Services seized Maile Metalwala, the 4-year-old daughter of Solomon Metalwala, away from her unfit mother, Julia Biryukova, and put Maile in foster care. It is a common but unjust practice for child welfare agencies to put children in foster care instead of giving them to their fathers. Moreover, the Washington court separated Maile from Solomon based on spurious abuse allegations from a now thoroughly discredited accuser.
While Fathers and Families states that courts often unfair to fathers based on undocumented allegations, the group also has campaigned on behalf of women in custody suits. You can read about the campaign to reunite Maile and Solmon Metalwala in full on the Fathers and Families website.
Department of Social and Health Services says that it has received hundreds of emails and faxes supporting the reunion. DSHS said that unless there is a question of child safety, priority is placed on keeping children in the care of their parents or relatives.
If the court gives Children's Administration temporary custody of a child, because of concerns regarding one of the child's parents, we look to the other parent as the first and best placement for the child. If that other parent is not available or is not a safe placement, we then try to place the child with relatives when possible. We also work with the court to determine appropriate visitation with family. We are acting under these same standards in this case.
Children's Administration is working cooperatively with the child's father, the court, law enforcement and others involved in this complex family situation. The Department agrees with the many writers' recommendations for the child welfare agency and the court to resolve this situation as soon as possible.
To read other stories from Patch's coverage of Sky Metalwala's disappearance, click here.
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 the silver 1998 Acura Integra three door coupe pictured when he disappeared.
- Police ask anyone who has seen Sky Metalwala or his family in the month of October to call the police tip line. Any who was traveling on the morning of Nov. 6 along 112th Avenue Northeast, between State Route 520 and Northeast 24th Street is also asked to call the Bellevue Police tip line. The tip line is at 425-452-2564 or can be reached by email at email@example.com.