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New Surveillance Video Released By San Antonio Police One Year After 3-Year-Old's Disappearance
Police urged the public not to stop looking for Lina Sardar Khil, who was last seen at a playground near her apartment complex on Dec. 20, 2021.
The search continues one year later for a missing 3-year-old from Texas, as San Antonio police release new surveillance video of the child on social media.
Lina Sardar Khil was last seen on Dec. 20, 2021 between 4 and 5 p.m., at a playground along Fredericksburg Road near her apartment complex in San Antonio. Police said she wandered out of her mother’s sight and disappeared.
“Nobody disappears into thin air,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus previously said. “Something happened to her. We just haven’t been able to discover what it was.”
In a video posted to social media by San Antonio police on Tuesday, you can see the child walking by a playground fence on the day of her disappearance.
“Obviously, we haven’t found Lina,” said Det. German Guentes in the video post. “It’s been investigated as a missing child. To be more specific, and to be honest, they are suspicious circumstances. The child’s age, the fact that we have not found any evidence to indicate where she’s at, other than where she was last at.”
Lina is described as having straight, shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a red dress, black jacket and black shoes. At the time of her disappearance, she was 4 feet tall and weighed 55 pounds.
"The beginning hours, the beginning moments of her going missing ... I mean, we started fast. We had resources on the scene from the Federal Bureau of Investigations," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said to San Antonio CBS station KENS. "We checked everywhere. We checked dumpsters, we checked closets. We searched every single apartment in that complex, some more than once. We had cadaver dogs going through that apartment complex."
A volunteer search group discovered a bag of bones on Dec. 30, 2021, but McManus said on Twitter it was not related to the search for Lina.
On Jan. 4, 2022, San Antonio police said in a tweet the FBI used its Underwater Search and Evidence Response team to follow up on a lead that didn’t pan out.
By June, the police chief said leads slowed in the case, according to previous Oxygen.com reporting.
“We’ve received hundreds of leads that we have followed up on—we’ve partnered up with other state and local agencies to follow up on the leads,” Det. Jeremy Volz said in the new social media video. “Unfortunately, none of the leads we’ve received have led us to finding Lina. That’s our ultimate goal is to find Lina. Until she’s found, no person and no theory can be ruled out on what happened to her.”
In February, The Islamic Center of San Antonio increased its reward for the safe return of Lina by $20,000, bringing the total up to $170,000. In the beginning, they offered $100,000 for the safe return of the child, and Crime Stoppers offered an additional $50,000.
Lina’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan in 2019. Her father, Riaz Sardar Khil, spoke through a translator to KENS and said he first thought another Afghan refugee family took her—something normal in his country.
“If one of the kids is missing, someone will take them,” translator Essa Yousafzai told KENS. “And if they see the news that someone is missing, they will gladly bring the kid back to the family. So he thought definitely somebody was going to get back to them.”
A retired FBI agent who runs Project Absentis is helping Lina’s family—passing his findings on to San Antonio Police and the FBI, according to KENS.
“I think what we determined is that she did leave voluntarily,” Abel Mark Pena told KENS. “She walked away with individuals. But, we don’t know after that what happened. There were witnesses that saw her, you know, walking with various people throughout the day. I think she walked off with perhaps individuals she knew or at least [was] familiar with, but there was no indication she was forced or taken away.”
Lina’s mother, Zarmeena, gave birth to a son in June, named Saud, according to KENS.
“When he was born, they could not celebrate the way they should because Lina was not there,” Yousafzai said to KENS. “It was extremely difficult for them to see this whole thing. They were happy to see their child born safe and well. But, in the meantime, they could not celebrate it.”
Anyone with any information can call SAPD’s Missing Persons Unit at 210-207-7660 or Crime Stoppers at 210-224-7867.
“There is a critical witness out there, that person that knows something needs to come forward,” Guentes said in the new social media video.