Stoking hope: Father of missing Lina Sardar Khil keeps faith fire burning

Sunday marks eleven months since Lina Sardar Khil vanished from a northwest-side apartment complex. Her family still believes in her return.

SAN ANTONIO — Eleven months. 335 days. Whatever the perspective of days, minutes, and seconds do not get lost on Riaz Sardar Khil. Neither is his focus on faith.

Family, friends, and advocates that support him are not planning to rally remembrance on Sunday, November 20, for the 4-year-old girl. Instead, there will be an observance for Lina on Tuesday, December 20, the one-year mark of her disappearance.

Through, translator Essa Yousafzai, Riaz Sardar Khil said he hadn’t lost hope that his older child and only daughter would return home.

“Sooner or later, she’s coming back…either today or tomorrow. He has that feeling that she is there,” Sardar Khil said. “She’s out there. She’s going to return.”

The 27-year-old father of three said he was so worried he couldn’t go back to work. Convinced he needed to take care of his wife Zarmeena, 3-year-old Rayhan, and 5-month-old Saud, he returned to work four months ago.

But he said it doesn’t erase the reality his daughter remains missing.

Her disappearance came five days before Christmas in December 2021. Sardar Khil said his daughter sat in his lap that afternoon playing. Later that day, he said she had vanished into thin air.

The stress of not finding her has created an extra wall of protection for his sons. He and his wife are afraid the same thing could happen again.

“Like he’s sort of suffocating,” Yousafzai said. “He just makes sure that the kids are back home on time. He locks the door and things like that.”

San Antonio Police and the FBI have not been able to solve the high-profile missing person case. Grassroots efforts by searchers have been fruitless. Financial incentives with a reward topping $250,000 have not produced the clue, the lead, or the person who may have taken the child.

The distressed father said if necessary, he’ll sell his only means of transportation and personal belongings and toss in as much of his paycheck as possible to find his daughter.

If still missing, Lina’s first-anniversary observance will be hosted by Bexar County Clerk Lucy Adame-Clark and CEO of Eagle’s Flight Advocacy and Outreach Pamela Allen on the old Bexar County Courthouse steps. 

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