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AMBER Alert discontinued, but search goes on for 3-year-old Lina Sardar Khil

An AMBER Alert was issued for Lina late on the evening of Dec. 20, a few hours after police said she disappeared.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio police and the Texas Department of Public Safety discontinued the AMBER Alert for 3-year-old Lina Sardar Khil Friday. 

A spokesperson for SAPD was adamant that the three-year-old is still missing and law enforcement continues to "diligently" search for her.

Those with information about Lina or her disappearance should contact the Missing Persons Unit at 210-207-7660 or Crime Stoppers at 210-224-7867.

Read the full statement from SAPD:

First, we want to once again reassure the family of Lina Sardar Khil and the community that our investigation and search for Lina has not stopped. We will continue to diligently continue combing through leads in hopes of locating Lina and reuniting her with her family. Recently, a decision was made to suspend an Amber Alert for Lina. Amber Alerts are a tool used in investigations.  While the Amber Alert for Lina has been suspended, it’s critical to communicate that Lina is still a missing person and once again, we continue to follow-up on leads and actively search for Lina.

The Missing Persons case involving Lina Sardar Khil is an active investigation.  The SAPD in partnership with our federal partners have worked tirelessly on finding Lina. Every tip received by concerned citizens through our Missing Persons Unit is received and actionable information is relayed to the appropriate SAPD follow up unit. From the onset of Lina’s disappearance,  we requested assistance from multiple law enforcement agencies; state and federal partners assisted immediately with every reasonable resource available in locating Lina. The Amber Alert is one of these available tools.  Today, the investigation continues.  Lina is an active missing person.  We ask anyone with information on Lina’s case to contact our Missing Persons Unit at 210-207-7660 or Crime Stoppers at (210)224-7867.  We will communicate substantial updates on Lina’s case via our social media platforms.   

Texas DPS generally issues an AMBER Alert for an abducted child when law enforcement has identified a suspect and the child is deemed to be in grave danger. 

SAPD officials maintain they do not have enough information to consider Lina Sardar Khil abducted. Little information about Lina's disappearance is available. 

Mark Gillespie is a private investigator who specializes in missing persons cases. Gillespie, who led Austin Police's forensic investigations unit for six years, is not involved in the search for Lina Sardar Khil. 

He says SAPD's decision to request an AMBER Alert with limited information indicates the agency's sense of urgency at the time of the girl's disappearance. 

"Getting the public involved in these scenarios is extremely important," he said. "They're pretty much the eyes and the ears for law enforcement."

The public should not speculate why the department discontinued the AMBER Alert, he says, since the move doesn't necessarily indicate good or bad news. 

"I think that law enforcement has enough information that they're working with to determine they don't need the public's help anymore in gathering information, or it's not as urgent as it was when it was issued," he said. 

"Just because it's discontinued is not meant to mean that... they're pulling their resources back in, because I know they're not," he added. "This could be a very complex situation. It could be any number of different scenarios." 

Previously, an FBI search-and-response team was searching underwater areas looking for any sign in the search for 3-year-old Lina Sardar Khil.

Law enforcement were also seen searching a field a few miles from the apartment complex where the girl disappeared. The team arrived out of Washington, D.C. and used specialized equipment and technology to assist them, according to McManus.

An AMBER Alert was issued for Lina late on the evening of Dec. 20, a few hours after police said she disappeared.

Even over the holiday weekend, search crews were seen combing through San Antonio's green belts and outdoor areas for any sign of the young girl.

Among the searchers was Mohammad Wali, who, like Lina's family, found a new home in the Alamo City after relocating from Afghanistan. 

“It is a very tragic story for us," Wali told KENS 5 on Sunday. "Our community, it’s very sad... They cannot tolerate, but we try and keep trying."

Related links on KENS 5: