San Antonio Police Ramp Up Search for 3-Year-Old Lina Khil as Today Marks 1 Week Since She Disappeared
A reward totalling $150,000 is being offered for any information that will lead authorities to the young girl.
San Antonio Police ramped up their search for 3-year-old Lina Sardar Khil who mysteriously disappeared from the playground at her Texas apartment complex one week ago, officials. said.
“The Department's search continues for little Lina Sardar Khil. While there have been no substantial updates to report, we continue to deploy an all hands on deck approach to ensure no evidence, witness statement or clues are left undiscovered,” according to a press release by the City of San Antonio.
Lina was last seen on Monday evening Dec. 20 at a playground with her mother and other children at the Villas del Cabo apartment complex in the 9400 block of Fredericksburg Road, officials said. Authorities sent an AMBER Alert to people’s phones on Monday, the day she went missing. Another alert was issued Wednesday evening that the Texas Department of Public Safety said was still in effect, KSAT News reported.
“Every second counts when a child is missing, and that is why we are asking anyone who was at the Villas del Cabo Apartment Complex located at 9400 Fredericksburg Rd. between 4:30 p.m. and 5:10 pm on Monday, December 20th, to contact the authorities,” the press release said.
The police are also asking the public that if anyone had contact with Lina or her family at any time on Monday, December 20th, and have not spoken with law enforcement, to contact them as soon as possible.
“No detail is too small as we continue to search for Lina. Our community is very important to us and we must all come together to bring Lina home to her family,” officials said.
On Friday at the St. Francis Episcopal Church, the community held a prayer vigil for Lina, KSAT News previously reported.
Speaking through a translator, Lina’s father, Riaz Khal, said that he continues to pray for his daughter’s safe return. He also thanked the community for their support. ”I’m really appreciative of the police department and everyone here, and I’m hopeful that my daughter will be back,” Khal said.
By Thursday, The Islamic Center of San Antonio put up a cash reward that initially started out at $10,000 and grew to $100,000. Crime Stoppers announced shortly after a reward of $50,000. Both rewards combined total $150,000, if the tip helps lead authorities to the young girl, and an arrest.
The police chief told the members at the Islamic center. “We need your assistance if you know anything. Even if you think it may not help we want you to call us and give us any information you have. You don’t have to give us your name. As it was said before we are not going to come looking for you or question you or intimidate you. If you have information that is all we want. You don’t have to give your name.”
At a Friday’s press briefing, the police chief said they are treating the case as a missing person case, not an abduction.
The police said that they have asked the FBI to deploy its child abduction rapid response team to aid officers in their search, but said they are treating Lina’s disappearance as a missing person case, not an abduction, KATV reported.
“If it were an abduction, we could be looking for an individual or have evidence of a child being abducted,” McManus said. “Right now, we don’t have any of that. That may change, but right now, it’s still a missing person.”
Previous reports said that Lina was last seen on Monday between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. at a playground with her mother and other children. When Lina’s mother went inside to quickly get something, Lina was gone, San Antonio Police said, KSAT News previously reported.
It was unclear exactly how long Lina’s mother was away, but McManus said in an earlier press conference that she returned a “short time later.”
The day she disappeared, her family reported her missing at 7:15 p.m. and an Amber Alert was issued.
According to a department spokesperson, there is no indication that Lina is with a family member, ABC News previously reported.
Since Lina’s disappearance, the police have been searching on foot and by air, and have been using K9 assistance. Part of their effort has been going door to door, to each of the 300 apartment units in the complex.
When Lina first went missing, the police chief said “due to the suspicious nature of the disappearance,” officers were searching for video, checking cars and dumpsters, and recording license plates.
McManus said, "we have every available asset in the police department working on the case right now."
He added: “We are sparing no assets or resources.”
He said the search is still within the San Antonio area and that the FBI’s rapid response team has resources that the department doesn’t have.
“If we have video that’s not real clear, they can work on their end to clarify any video footage,” he said. “They have resources, they have boots on the ground here that are helping us canvas the area.”
However, McManus said as the days go by the more challenging the search becomes.
“The longer the time lapses, the less hopeful we become.”
Lina is 4 feet tall and weighs 55 pounds. She has brown eyes and shoulder-length brown hair that was worn in a ponytail the day she went missing, according to a handout.
Lina, who is from Afghanistan moved with the family to the San Antonio area in 2019.
Lina was last seen wearing a black jacket, a red dress, and black shoes.
Margaret Costantino, of the Center for Refugee Services, told Inside Edition Digital that as soon as her non-profit became aware of the situation on Tuesday she referred an interpreter to them, due to the language barrier the police may be encountering.
“One of our interpreters made himself available to the police,” Costantino said. “Their language is Pashto, not Arabic that some other publications originally reported.”
Costantino said their organization has helped over 1,300 Afghans since Oct. 1st. She said she met the family and said they had come from Afghanistan in 2019 on an SVI, a special immigration visa.
“This is not an Afghan tragedy. This is a tragedy for the whole community,” Costantino said. “Everyone is really anxious wanting to know how they can help and praying for a good outcome.”
Authorities are asking anyone who has information on the case to call SAPD Missing Persons Unit at 210-207-7660.
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