(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — Lina Sardar Khil disappeared from a park near her family’s San Antonio home in December and six months later, police seem no closer to finding the 4-year-old.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus spoke about the case in an interview with KSAT, an ABC affiliate in San Antonio, and said leads on Lina’s case have slowed.
“Nobody vanishes into thin air. Something happened to him. We just couldn’t find out what it was,” McManus said in an interview published Tuesday.
McManus said that initially the San Antonio Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit was investigating Lina’s disappearance, but now the Special Victims Unit is handling the investigation. He added that the police are using resources that they would usually use in a kidnapping case, but Lina’s case is still classified as a missing person case.
“We still don’t have any evidence or evidence that this was an abduction,” McManus said. “So we continue to do that. It’s kind of a missing person and abduction hybrid,” he said.
“If there had been a video, if there had been any evidence of an abduction, we would have classified it as an abduction. But since we don’t have that, we can’t classify it as a kidnapping,” McManus said.
The San Antonio Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for additional comment.
Lina, who turned 4 on Feb. 20, was last seen 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., police said. The park is near the family home of 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 of her mother for an unknown length of time before realizing Lina was nowhere to be found, according to the San Antonio Police Department. The FBI’s field office in San Antonio also worked with the police on this case.
Her family had hoped she would be found to celebrate her 4th birthday at home, but her family had no response months after her disappearance.
“His light is missed by his family and his community. Our continuing prayer is that she will be back in the arms of those who love her,” Pamela Allen, who represents the Khil family, told ABC News in February.
FBI dive team ends search for 3-year-old Lina Sardar Khil ‘without conclusive results’
Asked if the hope of finding Lina alive had diminished over time, McManus replied, “Unfortunately it has, to be frank.”
“We are still devoting the necessary resources to locate her based on the advice we receive,” 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 miss my child, I can’t forget him and it affects me a lot and my other child who is coming into the world,” she said.
“We all have the same pain, it doesn’t matter that I am from Afghanistan, I have a different culture, a different religion. What we have in common is the pain of motherhood as a human being, it’s the same as everyone else,” she added.
The city’s Afghan community, along with a group of nonprofits and organizations, rallied behind the family, joining search teams, raising funds and raising awareness for Lina’s case.
The Islamic Center of San Antonio announced in February that it had increased the $120,000 reward for information about Lina to $200,000. Meanwhile, Crime Stoppers of San Antonio has offered $50,000 for information leading to the arrest or indictment of a suspect accused of involvement in Lina’s disappearance, bringing the latest total to $250,000. .
Eagles Flight Advocacy & Outreach, 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 group’s CEO, became the family’s spokesperson after meeting the Khils through his organization’s work. She told ABC News last month that the family believed Lina had been abducted.
“We think someone has it,” she said. “And for that to be what the family believes – that someone has their daughter and hopefully keeps 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 recently surfaced photo taken by a family member of Lina on the day of her disappearance in hopes that details of Lina’s jewelry might help the public identify her.
In the photo, obtained by ABC News, Lina appears to be wearing blue bangles on one wrist and gold bangles on the other. She also wears small gold earrings and an item around her neck which Allen says is known as a Taweez, which is engraved 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 San Antonio Missing Persons Unit at 210-207-7660.
Kiara Alfonseca of ABC News contributed to this report.
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