SAPD releases new footage showing Lina Khil at playground before her disappearance

Toddler disappeared on Dec. 20, 2021 from San Antonio apartment complex

SAN ANTONIO – Tuesday marked the anniversary of the disappearance of Lina Khil, and San Antonio Police released a video to highlight the investigative efforts to find her.

The toddler was last seen at a playground at the Villas del Cabo apartment complex in the 9400 block of Fredericksburg Road on Dec. 20, 2021.

New video from police

Video released by SAPD on Tuesday shows new footage of Lina at the playground on the day she disappeared.

SAPD officials said a resident of the complex had a surveillance camera that captured Lina playing with her mother and younger brother.

“At some point during the video she walked off the screen, and that was the last sighting that we have of her on video,” said Jeremy Volz, the lead detective in Lina’s case.

San Antonio police, the Special Victims Unit and members of the community have been searching for the now-4-year-old since her disappearance was reported.

SAPD refused KSAT’s interview request on Tuesday, but Volz says in the video that the department had partnered with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in trying to follow up on the “hundreds of leads” they’ve received. None, though, have led to Lina.

Nonprofit group also helping in the search for Lina

Retired FBI Agent Abel Peña’s nonprofit group, Project Absentis, has also been generating and following up on leads in Lina’s case. Peña says there’s a “high likelihood” Lina walked off with someone.

“We’re not certain whether she walked off willingly, but we do know that she may have been familiar enough with the people that she felt comfortable walking with them,” Peña told KSAT on Tuesday.

Lina is from an Afghan family, and Peña said his group knows there are a “number of calls, maybe conspiracy theories” suggesting the parents were involved or there was “something more sinister” that happened with respect to the Afghan community.

“As of yet, I mean, we haven’t got any information to suggest that any member of the community was involved,” Peña said.

Through a translator, Lina’s father, Riaz Sardar Khil responded to people who say his family had anything to do with his daughter’s disappearance.

“I brought my wife, I brought my children -- I brought them for a better life. And I brought them here because I love them, and I want to live with them together,” said Riaz Sardar Khil through translator Lawang Mangal.

Prayer vigil held on anniversary of Lina’s disappearance

Community members held a vigil Tuesday night to bring more awareness to Lina’s disappearance.

Khil told KSAT, “It was really painful for me and, especially, I couldn’t tell my wife today is the one year. She’s in really bad shape, and she was crying all today.”

Lina’s father said he’s frustrated by the lack of leads in the investigation to find his little girl.

“They never found a piece of evidence yet. So that’s very strange for me, because the United States is a super power of the world, and they have all the resources and technology and everything,” Khil told KSAT through translator Lawang Mangal.

The girl’s father also complained about the lack of communication from SAPD and the FBI.

Police Chief William McManus responded by saying, “I understood how he felt, how the family felt, that she’s still missing, but, unfortunately, we haven’t come across anything that’s led us to her.”

Where to report information about this case

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $50,000 for any information leading to charges in Lina’s case.

The Islamic Center of San Antonio is also offering a reward for Lina’s return. The reward was increased to $200,000 in February thanks to a private donor.

“There is a critical witness somewhere out there. That person that knows something needs to come forward and disclose,” SAPD officials said. “We believe that children don’t just vanish into thin air and if that person that saw something, that knows something — if that person has not come forward, it’s not too late to do so.”

Anyone with any information regarding Lina is asked to call SAPD’s missing person unit at 210-207-7660 or Crime Stoppers at 210-224-7867.

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About the Authors:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.