The Afghan refugee parents of a three-year-old girl who vanished from a San Antonio apartment complex after her pregnant mom allegedly left her unattended say they believe the child may have been abducted.
Police in San Antonio have been scouring the area around the Villas Del Cabo complex for Lina Sardar Khil on foot and from the air around the clock for the past two days, and on Tuesday the FBI joined the frantic search for the girl, whose disappearance set off an AMBER Alert.
Lina was last seen in the 9400 block of Fredericksburg Road after her mother stopped stopped watching the youngster ‘for a short moment’, according to police. The family disputes this allegation, and insist Lina was never out of her mom’s sight. And now officials have warned that the child could be in ‘grave, immediate danger.’
Although police say they do not know whether Lina wandered away from the playground or if she was taken by someone, and they do not have a description of a possible kidnapper, the girl’s family suspect foul play.
Lina’s father, Riaz Sardar Khil, told San Antonio TV station KENS5 through a translator. that his wife, who is pregnant, was watching their daughter at the playground between 5 and 6pm on Monday, when the three-year-old walked over to a nearby path and suddenly vanished.
Lina’s mother initially thought she may have returned to the family’s apartment, but she was not there.
The family then thought Lina may have left the playground with another Afghan family but now believe she may have been abducted.
The Khil family moved to the US in 2019 from Afghanistan after fleeing from ‘threats that were posed to us,’ the father told the station.
‘During our entire lives we have not been as saddened as we were yesterday and today,’ Riaz Khil said.
The father said that the FBI questioned him and his wife for several hours on Tuesday. Riaz added that he and his wife have not eaten or slept since Lina’s disappearance.
Riaz Khil did not address a claim made by San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, who said that Lina went missing while her mother was away from the playground for ‘a short time.’
During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, McManus said that when the girl’s mother returned, her daughter was gone. There were other children with adults at the playground at that time.
McManus said Lina’s family did not contact the police until about 7:15pm to report her missing.
The police chief said Lina’s mother and other residents have been cooperating with the investigation.
Officers have been searching for Lina by going door-to-door to question all residents, checking cars and dumpsters, and looking for surveillance footage.
Chief McManus said his department is ‘sparing no assets or resources’ to find the little girl.
On Tuesday, local officials asked FBI to help with the search, given the suspicious circumstances surrounding Lina’s disappearance and the length of time she’s been gone.
‘We will continue this until, hopefully, we find Lina but we are not stopping,’ McManus said.
Lina is four-feet-tall and weighs 55lbs, with brown eyes and straight, shoulder-length brown hair tied in a ponytail. She was last seen wearing a black jacket, a red dress and black shoes.