Madalina Cojocari Search: Photo Shows Missing Girl in Remote Area Where Mom's Car Was Later Spotted

Madalina Cojocari

A photo of Madalina Cojocari taken before her disappearance shows that she had been to the remote section of North Carolina where police are now focusing their investigation.

The search for Madalina Cojocari continues, 70 days after the 11-year-old girl went missing from her home in North Carolina.

That search has now moved from Madalina's home to Madison County, a densely forested but sparsely populated area deep in the Appalachian Mountains.

Police moved search efforts to this remote and rugged section of western North Carolina last month and reached out to the community asking if any residents had seen Madalina, her mother, Diana Cojocari, or Diana's car.

Inside Edition Digital has now learned that multiple residents have informed investigators that they spotted Diana's car in the days after Madalina's disappearance.

One woman told authorities that she drove by Diana's car parked on the side of the road near Lonesome Mountain. She remembered the vehicle because it later sped past her as she continued down the road.

Another woman spotted the vehicle in Weaverville on Nov. 22, one day after the last confirmed sighting of Madalina. Another resident reported that they saw the car in Weaverville as well at an IHOP on Nov. 25.

Diana drives a sea-green Prius, according to investigators.

Inside Edition Digital also learned that a member of law enforcement had contact with Diana near Lonesome Mountain when she was in the area after her daughter went missing.

Madalina was not with her at the time, and soon after investigators began searching the area, but found no sign of the girl.

Meanwhile, 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 before she went missing, which is located three hours from her home in the town of Cornelius.

The Cornelius Police Department is still putting all its energy into the investigation, and just this weekend posted a message on Facebook.

"The Cornelius Police Department, the SBI and the FBI continue to search for beautiful Madalina. As it has been since we learned she was missing, our focus is to bring Madalina home," reads the post. "Please continue to share her pictures on social media to help us #FindMadalina."

Those search efforts did not get underway until almost three weeks after the young girl disappeared because her mother and stepfather did not report her missing until after the school inquired about the sixth grader's truancy.  

Local law enforcement and the FBI both continue to classify this as a missing person or kidnapping investigation, while the girl's mother and stepfather remain behind bars after being charged on Dec. 17 with failure to report the disappearance of a child.

A grand jury has since indicted the pair and they will appear in court next month to formally enter a plea.

They both claim to have no information about Madalina's disappearance.

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


Related News