Sky’s parents had met in 1997. Biryukova was a then 15-year-old Ukrainian who had arrived in the U.S. from Russia three years previously. Meanwhile, Sky’s father Solomon Metalwala was a 21-year-old of Pakistani heritage. The two started dating. In 1999 they moved into a Bellevue condominium. Then, in 2003, at the alleged behest of Metalwala’s parents, they married.
In 2007 the couple had a daughter named Maile. But around that time, the family began to experience financial difficulties. Their restaurant business suffered a double whammy from the recession of 2008 and competition from a neighborhood deli. In 2009, after Sky was born, Biryukova began having psychological problems. And this culminated in her entering a psychiatric unit in 2010, suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder.
While Biryukova was in and out of hospital, the bank took ownership of their condo and Metalwala filed for divorce. The breakup was acrimonious. Biryukova claimed that Metalwala was abusive, while Metalwala claimed that Biryukova was mentally unfit to be a parent. But in September 2010, the court granted Biryukova full custody of their children. And in November 2011, shortly before Sky disappeared, Biryukova rescinded an agreement that gave Metalwala visitation rights.