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FBI dive team joins search for 3-year-old girl who vanished from San Antonio playground

Lina Sardar Khil in undated family photo from San Antonio Police Department Twitter page @SATXPolice

An FBI dive team has joined the search for a 3-year-old San Antonio girl reported missing two weeks ago, police said Tuesday.

Lina Sardar Khil was last seen in the playground of a northwest San Antonio apartment complex during the late afternoon of Dec. 20.

The family moved to the U.S. in 2019 from Afghanistan after fleeing from "threats that were posed to us," Lina's father, Riaz Sardar Khil, told CBS San Antonio affiliate KENS-TV.

The elite 12-member FBI Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team flew in from Washington, D.C., Monday night, Police Chief William McManus said.

Appearing downcast, McManus said the team was merely checking a lead, of which there have been few.

"I wish I could be more uplifting. I know this looks like we're really onto something. But all we're doing here is following up," he said at a briefing at the search site.

The team was at a creek a little more than two miles from the family's apartment, KENS said, adding that Lina's father was seen praying near the site as the FBI team was searching.

The station asked him through an interpreter about his thoughts on the developments. He said he hadn't been aware that the FBI search was going on, and at one point thought his daughter was found dead.

KENS was also there when an investigator spoke to Lina's father through an interpreter later in the evening. They were briefed on what happened.

 Lina Sardar Khil  San Antonio Police

The FBI team plans to resume its search Wednesday.

Police say they're still officially treating Lina's disappearance as a missing-person case.

Meanwhile, total reward money for information leading to Lina's discovery stands at $150,000.

Lina was last seen wearing a red dress, black jacket and black shoes and had her brown hair in a ponytail, police said.

The child's family had reported that she was at the playground with her mother, who had walked away briefly and found the child missing upon her return.

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

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