Lina Khil: Father of Missing Afghan Girl Believes She May Have Been Abducted

lina khil

Police Lina Khil

Lina Khil is a missing San Antonio, Texas, child who disappeared from the playground of her family’s apartment building.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says that Khil has been missing since December 20, 2021, from San Antonio, Texas. She is 3 years old.

According to KSAT-TV, Lina’s family is among 1,300 Afghan refugees in San Antonio. Her father told KENS5 that he believes she may have been abducted, although police are still calling the child a missing person.

The child is described as standing 4 foot tall and weighing 55 pounds. She was last seen “wearing a black jacket, red dress, and black shoes. Has straight shoulder length hair that was last seen in a ponytail,” the Missing and Exploited Children page alert says.

The FBI is involved in the disappearance.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Police Believe Lina Is in Grave & Immediate Danger

According to the missing child alert, the San Antonio Police Department “is searching for Lina Sardar Khil, White, female, 3 years old, 4’00”, 55 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes, and wearing a black jacket, red dress, and black shoes. Has straight shoulder length hair that was last seen in a ponytail. The victim was last seen at 5:00 pm on 12/20/2021 in the 9400 block Fredicksburg, San Antonio, TX. Law enforcement officials believe this child to be in grave or immediate danger. If you have any information regarding this abduction, call the San Antonio Police Department at 210-207-7660.”
Police said in a news conference that they are “trying to find someone who knows anything about Lina.”

Police Chief William McManus said police do have video footage they are looking at, but they don’t have a person of interest or vehicle of interest or they would have put it out. “We haven’t come across anything yet that may help us as far as video goes,” McManus said.

The child was playing at a playground with her mother and other children between 5 to 6 p.m., police said. Her mother left for a short time, and when she came back, the girl was missing.

2. Police Aren’t Calling What Happened to Khil an Abduction, at Least Not Yet

lina khil

PoliceLina Khil

If it were an abduction, police would have  some evidence of that and hopefully a tag number or suspect to go with that. But they don’t.

“We’re treating it strictly as a missing person,” the chief said, because police have no evidence of an abduction. He said that might change.

The chief said there’s an Afghan interpreter helping the police, but the dialect spoken by the family was not a common one, so that caused some issues on the front end, said the chief.

He said police brought in canines who picked up Lina’s scent but then lost it. Police have put information in Arabic on social media to try to get tips. “The longer the time lapses, the less hopeful we become,” said McManus.

“There’s probably not a parent who would leave their child alone for a second at that age going forward,” said McManus.

3. The Girl’s father Says He & His Wife Haven’t Slept or Ate

The girl’s father spoke to KENS5 Austin and revealed he and his wife “have not eaten or slept.” He said they believe the girl was abducted.

“During our entire lives we have not been as saddened as we were yesterday and today,” Lina’s father, Riaz Sardar Khil, told KENS-TV through a translator. He said that the family came to the United States in 2019 because of threats back home.

He said that his wife was watching Lina, who wandered to a “nearby path and disappeared,” the television station reported, adding that he was distraught and said the parents were questioned by authorities.

The chief said police have not had “much success” in determining where Lina is. But he described the search efforts, thanking the FBI. He reiterated that police aren’t treating the disappearance as an abduction right now. “We are treating it as a missing person,” he said. However, an FBI child abduction team is being called in.

The chief said wooded areas have been searched. They have connected with the community in the complex through community leaders. They have two different command centers.

There is a $150,000 reward in the case, according to KSAT-TV.

4. An Acquaintance of the Family Described the Cultural Differences in the Case

An acquaintance of the family, a man named Igat, called into a local podcast to describe some of the cultural differences. He said everyone in the local Texas Afghan community knows each other. They go to San Antonio and congregate and then come back.

He said that the first problem in the case “is the communication gap,” noting that “they speak a language that is not Arabic.” He also noted that Afghan men are raised to not show emotion. The man also commented that there were a lot of “negative reviews” about the apartment complex, about children playing unsupervised and being noisy.

He explained that in Afghan culture, children are often left unsupervised or go to neighbors’ homes because it’s considered safe. In those countries, if someone touches a child, they would believe they would be sent “to hell” so no one dares “to look at them.”

He said that Afghanistan is in central Asia, not the Middle East, and added that Afghan parents still haven’t all realized that, in the U.S., “you have to have an eye on the children 24-7.” He said most of the Afghan women are unemployed and don’t speak English.

He’s right that many of the reviews for the apartment complex are horrible. Many describe poor pest control. “The WORST complex, and management EVER!!!! Moved in the end of last year and have had NOTHING but issues. Floods in my unit from upstairs TOILET AND SINK WATER, open walls and holes with mold for weeks,” wrote one reviewer. It’s called Villas Del Cabo.

5. The Muslim Community Has Rallied Around the Family

lina khil

PoliceLina Khil

The Islamic Center of San Antonio is offering part of the reward.

“It’s to draw attention to this,” Michael Martin, the mosque’s community outreach representative, told KSAT-TV. “It’s a tragedy for the City of San Antonio, for any faith based community.”

“It’s a large (Muslim) community and typically Friday prayers are packed,” Martin said. “We have a lot of maqdes or mosques around town, so (the Khil family) could be going to any of those.”

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