EXCLUSIVE: ‘Nobody disappears into thin air. Something happened to her’: Chief McManus discusses Lina Khil case

The tips into Lina’s disappearance have slowed significantly.

SAN ANTONIO – “First day or today, our goal remains the same. And that is to try to find Lina, to try to get some information as to what happened to her,” Chief William McManus said.

It’s been 183 days since Lina Khil vanished.

“Nobody disappears into thin air. Something happened to her. We just haven’t been able to discover what it was,” McManus said.

Lina’s case is baffling, even to SAPD Chief William McManus.

“People wonder how far can a three-year-old actually get on her own? Should we have found her at this point if someone didn’t take her?” KSAT Reporter Leigh Waldman asked McManus.

“Well, I mean, that’s the big mystery,” Chief McManus responded.

From the very start, SAPD has maintained Lina’s case is a missing person’s case despite some suspicion in the community that she must have been taken.

Chief McManus explained they’re utilizing resources that would be used in an abduction case.

“We still don’t have any evidence or proof that it was an abduction. So we still we’re doing it. It’s kind of a hybrid missing person and abduction,” he said.

So why not classify Lina’s disappearance as an abduction now?

“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.

Originally, the missing person’s unit was leading the case, now the Special Victim’s Unit has taken over.

“SVU will, they’ll go out on the street, the field, they’ll interview people out there, whereas missing persons wouldn’t necessarily do that,” McManus said.

Unfortunately, as more time passes, tips about Lina have slowed significantly. Chief McManus says only a few have come in during the month of June.

“Does the hope of finding her alive and well start to diminish?” Waldman asked.

“Unfortunately it does, to be candid,” Chief McManus said. “We are still devoting the resources necessary to locate her based on the tips we get.”

In this case, no piece of information is too small and all leads are being followed.

If you know anything about little Lina, call the Missing Person’s Unit at (210)207-7660 or Crime Stoppers at (210)224-7867.

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About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.