Madalina Cojocari Case: A Girl Missing for 6 Months. A Mom Who Refuses to Speak. And New Mystery Sightings

Madalina Cojocari

Police arrested her mother Diana Cojocari and stepfather Christopher Palmiter on charges of failing to report the disappearance of a child back on Dec. 17, and the two remain in custody at the Mecklenburg County Jail awaiting an Aug. 11 hearing.

Madalina Cojocari is still missing six months after she was last seen getting off the school bus near her home in Cornelius, North Carolina, on Nov. 21.

Police arrested her mother, Diana Cojocari, and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, on charges of failing to report the disappearance of a child back on Dec. 17, and the two remain in custody at the Mecklenburg County Jail awaiting an Aug. 11 hearing.

The two also refuse to offer any information about what happened to Madalina according to law enforcement, despite multiple people now reporting that they saw Diana in western North Carolina in the days after her daughter's disappearance.

Now, a new sighting and the emergence of a mysterious private investigator is deepening the mystery around Madalina's disappearance.

The Cornelius Police Department initially focused their efforts in and around Madalina's home.

Then, in January, investigators shifted their focus from Madalina's home in Cornelius to Madison County, a densely forested but sparsely populated area deep in the Appalachian Mountains.

Multiple residents — two women and a member of law enforcement — saw what they believed to be Diana's car in Madison County in the days after Madalina's disappearance.

In all three cases, Diana was alone in the vehicle.

There is now a fourth sighting, this one on Dec. 4, of Diana sleeping in her vehicle.

Law enforcement searched the area to no avail, though a photo of Madalina posing at the summit of Mount Mitchell in neighboring Yancey County confirms that she had at least visited this area of the state at some point.


The search may have now shifted once again, this time to Burke County.

A private investigator is currently combing that area, just two counties over from Madison County, and inquiring if residents have seen Madalina according to WSOC.

Local police also remain committed to finding the missing girl.

Det. Gina Patterson of the Cornelius Police Department filed an application for a search warrant in Mecklenburg County Superior Court back on Feb. 14 that also shed new light on Madalina's disappearance

Her application included a relative's claim that Diana and Madalina were trying to move away from Palmiter at the time the young girl went missing.

"In an interview with Octavian Cebanu (a distant relative of Diana), he stated that Diana Cojocari and her mother asked him if he would assist Diana with 'smuggling' her and Madalina Cojocari away from the residence," reads the application. "Octavian stated that she told him she was in a bad relationship with co-defendant Christopher Palmiter and wanted a divorce."

Det. Patterson then reviewed Diana's cell records, leading to another discovery.

"On Thursday, February 10, 2023, Cornelius Police Department Detectives and NCSBI Agents reviewed phone records for Diana Cojocari [Phone number redacted]. When reviewing phone numbers that defendant, Cojocari, contacted, she had an extensive communication on December 2, 2022 with a known subject, Octavian Cebanu (Phone Number [redacted])," Det. Patterson writes. "In reviewing this subject's phone records, there was multiple calls to phone numbers belonging to unidentified targets involved in ongoing T3 drag/narcotic trafficking investigations," according to the affidavit.

Diana remains quiet however, much like she did in the weeks after her daughter went missing, for reasons that are still unknown.

Search efforts for Madalina did not get underway until Dec. 15, which is when her school forced Diana to address her daughter's truancy. That delay in reporting Madalina missing is what led to charges being filed against Diana and Palmiter.

A grand jury has since indicted both Diana and Palmeter on a single count of failing to report the disappearance of a child, and the two will formally enter their pleas in August. Diana is also facing a narcotics charge after allegedly being found in possession of fentanyl while behind bars.

The Cornelius Police Department recently shared new video of Madalina on social media, writing: "It has been 6 months since Madalina was last seen getting off her school bus on 11/21/22. Madalina should be getting ready to enjoy the warm summer months of being at the beach and swimming.
Please call Detectives at 704-892-7773 with any info that will help us to #FindMadalina."

Any individual who might have information that could help detectives should contact the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773.


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