NC Parents Waited Weeks to Report Girl's Disappearance

They failed to notify law enforcement that Madalina Cojocari was missing, cops say
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2022 11:31 AM CST

An 11-year-old girl from North Carolina has been missing for a month—though authorities say they only learned that a week ago. Police have charged the girl's mother and stepfather with failure to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement. They say the couple only notified Madalina Cojocari's school that she was missing on Dec. 15, some three weeks after they claim to have last seen the girl on Nov. 23 and only after multiple inquiries from the school, per Fox News. Police began investigating the disappearance that same day, ABC News reports. On Tuesday, the FBI shared the last known footage of Madalina, showing the 6th grader getting off a school bus around 5pm on Nov. 21.

"This is the last time investigators have independent confirmation of when Madalina was last seen," according to the FBI's Charlotte bureau. "We are seeking additional witnesses outside of the family to narrow down the exact timeline of when she disappeared." Madalina's mother, 37-year-old Diana Cojocari, claims she last saw her daughter at her home in Cornelius, 20 miles north of Charlotte. She was arrested Saturday along with Madalina's stepfather, 60-year-old Christopher Palmiter. Both are held at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center, CNN reported Sunday.

On Monday, Cornelius police said the search area included Lake Cornelius, also known as Lake Norman, which covers 50 square miles. "We are conducting additional land and water searches as a precautionary measure," the department said. "There's nothing we won’t do to #FindMadalina." She's described as white, 4'10", 90 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. The video shows her wearing a plain white t-shirt and backpack. According to a missing poster, she was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and jacket, jeans, and Adidas shoes in the colors pink, purple, and white. Anyone with information is asked to call Cornelius police or North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers. (More missing child stories.)

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