Madalina Cojocari Case: Police K9 Searches Home as Parents Still Silent 85 Days After 11-Year-Old Went Missing
Officers with the Cornelius Police Department (CPD) returned to the missing girl's home this week with a K9 to search the property.
Search efforts continue for Madalina Cojocari, the 11-year-old North Carolina girl who has not been seen in at least 85 days.
A photo obtained by Inside Edition Digital shows officers with the Cornelius Police Department (CPD) returning to the missing girl's home this week with a K9 to search the property.
A spokesperson with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office tells Inside Edition Digital that an assistant district attorney was also present.
The ADA "was there as part of our office’s legal obligation to consult with law enforcement," the spokesperson explains.
No further comments could be made by the district attorney's office because this is an ongoing investigation.
At the same time, the FBI and CPD both released a new image of Madalina while reassuring the public that all efforts are still being made to find the young girl.
"It has been 85 days since Madalina was last seen getting off her school bus on November 21, 2022. It has been 61 days since Cornelius Police learned on December 15, 2022, Madalina was missing," the CPD said in a statement. "The Cornelius Police Department, the SBI and the FBI continue to search for Madalina. Detectives are working tirelessly and are following up on many leads to bring Madalina home"
Investigators say they continue to get no help from the girl's mother and stepfather, Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter. The couple waited more than 20 days to report Madalina missing, and soon after both were arrested on a single charge of failure to report a child missing, officials said.
The couple remains in custody at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center, and both have yet to enter a plea.
It was not until Dec. 15 that Diana reported her daughter missing to Bailey Middle School Resource Officer J. Nobles, according to an arrest report from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office obtained by Inside Edition Digital.
Diana said that she last saw her daughter at 11 p.m. on Nov. 23 when she went into her bedroom, according to the arrest report.
"Diana stated her and her husband, Christopher Palmiter, argued that night and the next morning he drove to his family's house in Michigan to recover some items," the report reads. Palmiter is Madalina's stepfather.
Diana said she checked on Madalina about 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 24 and noticed the little girl was not in her room, police said. Nobles said the mother told him that she then waited until Palmiter returned to the house at 4 p.m. on Nov. 26 to ask if he knew where Madalina was. He said he didn't know where she was and asked Diana the same question in return, she allegedly told the officer.
"I asked Diana why she did not report Madalina missing until now. Diana stated she was worried it might start a 'conflict' between her and Christopher," Nobles said in the report.
Nobles also interviewed Palmiter, who told him that he left his home on Nov. 23 to drive to Michigan to pick up items, but said he did not see Madalina the day he left and "believed that the last time he saw her was a week before his trip."
Palmiter said that when he returned home on Nov. 26, he asked his wife, Diana, where Madalina was, and she "said that she did not know," the arrest report states. He also allegedly said he asked Madalina's mother if she "had hidden" the little girl, and she asked the same question of him, "and they both said no."
Palmiter never reported Madalina missing, officials said.
"Chris [Palmiter] stated he spoke with Diana [Cojocari] several times about Madalina's whereabouts over the next two weeks and both stated that they did not know where she was, but they did not contact the police to report Madalina missing," the report reads.
A spokesperson for the Cornelius Police Department previously told Inside Edition Digital that school employees had called the girl's mother on several occasions prior to inquire about her absence from school.
The last confirmed sighting of Madalina was on Nov. 21, when she was seen on video exiting a school bus at 4:59 p.m., just days before Thanksgiving. That video was later released by the FBI.
The only person to report seeing her after that time is her mother, who told the interviewing officer that she had last seen her daughter two days later, on Nov. 23. That account is detailed in the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office's arrest report.
Madalina was last seen wearing jeans, pink, purple and white Adidas shoes, and a white t-shirt and jacket, according to the FBI.
Any persons with information concerning the whereabouts of Madalina Cojocari should contact the Cornelius Police Department at (704) 892-7773. They may also contact a local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
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