A Washington state mother has reported to police that she left her toddler in her car for an hour while she hiked to get gas—then returned to find him missing. Bizarrely, Julia Biryukova and the father of 2-year-old Sky were cited just over a year ago for also leaving the boy alone in the family car. This time, Biryukova told investigators she suddenly ran out of gas on a Bellevue street close to a highway. So she took her 4-year-old daughter to walk to a gas station, leaving Sky in her unlocked silver Acura. She called a friend for a ride back to the car from the gas station, and Sky was gone, Biryukova told investigators. A gas can wasn't found in Biryukova's car, a detail that "could mean a lot of things," a police spokeswoman told ABC.
Police have searched the woods near the car, and are now hunting for the boy near his mother's home. Biryukova and Sky's dad, Solomon Metalwala, pleaded guilty last year to leaving the boy alone in the family car when he was just 3 months old as the parents shopped. The baby was alone for 55 minutes on a 27-degree day, and the parents only returned when police located them after a call from a concerned passer-by. The parents are currently in the midst of a bitter custody battle. Biryukova filed for an order of protection against her husband for herself and her two children last year, reports AP. He dragged and kicked her in an incident she recounted in her court documents. "I live in constant fear for my life and my children's life," she said in the documents. Metalwala has claimed Biryukova has mental health issues.