Police chief on missing girl Lina Sardar Khil: ‘Nobody disappears into thin air'
The 4-year-old has been missing for over six months from the San Antonio area.
Lina Sardar Khil disappeared from a park near her family's home in San Antonio in December and six months later, police appear no closer to finding the 4-year-old.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus spoke out about the case in an interview with KSAT, an ABC affiliate in San Antonio, and said that leads regarding Lina's case have slowed.
“Nobody disappears into thin air. Something happened to her. We just haven’t been able to discover what it was,” McManus said in an interview published on Tuesday.
McManus said that initially the missing person's unit of the San Antonio Police Department was investigating Lina's disappearance, but now the special victim’s unit is handling the investigation. He added that police are using resources that they would usually utilize in an abduction case, but Lina's case is still classified as a missing persons case.
“We still don’t have any evidence or proof that it was an abduction," McManus said. "So we still we’re doing it. It’s kind of a hybrid missing person and abduction,” he said.
“If there were video, if there were any kind of evidence of an abduction, we would have classified as an abduction. But since we don’t have that, we can’t classify it as an abduction,” McManus said.
The San Antonio Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for further comment.
Lina, who turned 4 years-old on Feb. 20, was last seen on Dec. 20 at a park on the 9400 block of Fredericksburg Road in San Antonio between 4:30 p.m. and 5:10 p.m., according to police. The park is near the family's home at the Villa Del Cabo apartment complex.
Lina has brown eyes and straight, brown hair, and was last seen wearing a black jacket, red dress and black shoes, according to police.
She was out of sight from her mother for an unknown amount of time before she realized Lina was nowhere to be found, according to the San Antonio Police Department. The FBI field office in San Antonio has also been working with police on this case.
"Her light is missing from her family and community. Our continuous prayer is that she will be back in the arms of those that love her," Pamela Allen, who is representing the Khil family, told ABC News in February.
Asked if the hope of finding Lina alive has diminished as time passes, McManus said, "Unfortunately it does, to be candid."
“We are still devoting the resources necessary to locate her based on the tips we get," he said.
Lina's family is part of an Afghan refugee community in San Antonio. They arrived in the United States in 2019 and speak Pashto.
Lina's mother, Zarmeena Sardar Khil, is pregnant with her second child. She spoke with FOX 29 in San Antonio through a translator in February.
"I am missing my child, I cannot forget her and it is affecting me a lot and my other child who is coming to this world," she said.
"We all have the same pain, it doesn't matter that I am from Afghanistan, I have a different culture, different religion. What we have in common is the pain of motherhood as a human, is the same as all people," she added.
The Afghan community in the city, along with a group of nonprofits and organizations have rallied behind the family, joining search crews, fundraising and raising awareness about Lina's case.
The Islamic Center of San Antonio announced in February that it increased a $120,000 reward for any information on Lina to $200,000. Meanwhile, Crime Stoppers of San Antonio has offered $50,000 for information resulting in the arrest or indictment of a suspect accused of involvement in Lina's disappearance, bringing the latest total to $250,000.
The Eagles Flight Advocacy & Outreach organization, a San Antonio-based nonprofit, joined the search in early January, with about 150 people from the Afghan community showing up to help.
Allen, the CEO of the group, became the family's spokesperson after meeting the Khils through her organization's work. She told ABC News last month that the family believes Lina was abducted.
"We believe someone has her," she said. "And so that this is what the family believes -- that someone has their daughter and hopefully keeping her alive."
An FBI dive team ended a search for Lina in January without finding any trace of the girl, authorities said.
In January, Allen's organization shared a newly surfaced photo taken by a family member of Lina the day she disappeared in hopes that details about Lina's jewelry could assist the public in identifying her.
In the photo, which was obtained by ABC News, Lina appears to be wearing blue bangle bracelets on one wrist and gold-toned bangles on the other. She is also wearing small gold earrings and an article around her neck that Allen said is known as the Taweez, which is etched with verses from the Quran and is usually worn for protection.
Police are urging anyone with information regarding Lina or her whereabouts to come forward and contact the missing persons unit in San Antonio at 210-207-7660.
ABC News' Kiara Alfonseca contributed to this report.