SEATTLE – Police in Bellevue, Wash., set up a kind of roadblock for five hours Sunday to talk to people passing the site where a missing toddler was last seen at the same time a week earlier.
Officers, standing near a sign and a police car with flashing lights, talked to more than 20 people and gathered about a dozen new tips Sunday morning, Bellevue Police Maj. Mike Johnson told a news conference.
It's been a week since 2-year-old Sky Metalwala disappeared from his mother's car. Police have searched the area where the child was last seen and Julia Biryukova's home and car.
Officers also spent time at Biryukova's apartment complex Sunday hoping to find someone who remembers something about last weekend that may help them find the boy, Johnson said.
He urged the public to keep calling in with tips.
"That information is critical," he said.
Johnson has acknowledged that Bellevue Police, working with law enforcement partners from around the region, have yet to get a productive lead in the case, but insists that could change at any time with some help from the public.
He could not offer any details from the tips police gathered Sunday morning.
Bellevue police are also talking to authorities in other cities to get advice about how they handled similar cases. Among the advice: don't get tunnel vision and check out every possibility.
Meanwhile, after a week of phone calls and emails from The Associated Press, an attorney representing Biryukova said he didn't have anything to say to the media.
"My office does not comment about ongoing investigations," Robert Flennaugh II wrote in an email.
Police say Biryukova told them she was taking Sky to a hospital when the car stopped, so she left him alone in the unlocked vehicle and took his 4-year-old sister to go for gas. When she returned an hour later, she says, the boy was gone.
The children's father spent Saturday with friends and relatives hanging up flyers around the community asking for help finding his son. He has said he does not trust Biryukova not to harm his son.
The couple has been involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle and both have made accusations concerning the safety of their children.