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The FBI has joined local authorities in Texas as they search for a three-year-old girl who has now been missing for just over two weeks.
Lina Sardar Khil vanished on Dec. 20 while on the playground of the apartment complex in north San Antonio, Texas, where her family — who immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan in 2019 — lives.
The FBI flew into Houston on Monday and, by Tuesday, had deployed a dive team to look for Khil, the San Antonio Police announced on Tuesday.
“I wish I could be more uplifting," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said during a Tuesday press conference held at the scene of the wooded search area. "I know this looks like we are onto something, but all we’re doing here is following up on leads. We don’t want to leave anything to chance. Everything that we get that has any kind of potential at all, we’re following it up.”
When asked by reporters what leads the teams were following up on, McManus said he could not comment.
The area is located not far from the family's apartment complex, according to ABC San Antonio affiliate KSAT. The terrain is deep, McManus told reporters.
Hesham Werfelli, a member of the same mosque that the toddler's family attends, told KSAT that someone in the community had submitted a new tip just days ago.
“I don’t want to say who, but someone reported a tip that around New Year’s Eve," they said. "We had a group of us here. We saw someone walking in the back area with a flashlight. It didn’t really click."
McManus is vowing to continue the search for the toddler.
“We have not spared any resource or given up hope in finding Lina,” McManus tweeted on Tuesday.
He noted during the press conference that investigators, dive team included, will pick up their search on Wednesday. Drones are reportedly being used as well. His department has not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for more information.
Khil has brown hair and brown eyes and was wearing a black jacket, red dress and black shoes when she disappeared. Her mother had stepped away for a minute and, when she returned, Lina was gone. However, the toddler was never alone as other children were on the playground when she vanished. Her parents are cooperating with the investigation.
A reward of $150,000 is being offered to anyone who provides information that leads to Khil's whereabouts.
Anyone with information is urged to call the San Antonio Police Department Missing Persons’ Unit at 210-207-7660.
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