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October 1, 2023

FBI dive team joins search for 3-year-old Texas girl missing for 2 weeks

FBI dive team joins search for 3-year-old Texas girl missing for 2 weeks

An FBI underwater search team was in San Antonio on Tuesday to help with the search for a 3-year-old girl who went missing more than two weeks ago.

Lina Sardar Khil was last seen Dec. 20 at an apartment complex playground.

Lina Sardar Khil.San Antonio Police via Twitter

Police Chief Bill McManus described Tuesday’s search not far from the complex as part of investigating every possible location.

“I wish I could be more uplifting. I know this looks like we’re really on to something, but all we’re doing here is following up on leads,” McManus said.

McManus would not say what led investigators to the site, which NBC affiliate WOAI of San Antonio described as a wooded area.

“Everything that we get that has any kind of potential at all, we follow it up — and that’s what we’re doing here today,” he said.

The FBI has been involved in the search, but the federal agency’s dive team that arrived from Washington, D.C., has specialized expertise, McManus said.

Lina was last seen at a small playground in an apartment complex. She had been there with her mother, who left for a short time. When she returned, Lina was gone, police have said.

Police said they have gone door-to-door at the apartment complex and looked in dumpsters and other areas. Hundreds of officers, FBI agents and volunteers, as well as search dogs, have assisted in the effort.

Lina’s family are Afghan refugees who came to the U.S. on special immigrant visas in 2019, the San Antonio Center for Refugee Services has said.

An Amber Alert issued for Lina remained active Tuesday night.

A reward of more than $150,000 has been offered in the search for Lina, including $100,000 from the Islamic Center of San Antonio and the remainder from Crime Stoppers.

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

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