Missing Madalina Cojocari, 12, Drugged and Sold to Traffickers for $5 Million Claims Grandmother
Rodica Cojocari claims that Christopher Palmiter masterminded the sale of his stepdaughter Madalina Cojocari in an interview with WCNC.
The grandmother of Madalina Cojocari is claiming that the missing girl was sold to traffickers in an explosive new interview.
"My granddaughter is alive, but she's been kidnapped," Rodica Cojocari told WCNC outside court last week as the missing girl's mother Diana Cojocari and stepfather Christopher Palmiter appeared before a judge after being charged with failing to report Madalina's disappearance for over three weeks.
Rodica also claimed that Palmiter masterminded the sale of his stepdaughter in her interview with WCNC.
"Chris Palmiter is the instrument," Rodica said. "He stalked them for two years. [They] had no documents in his home. He stole their documents and held them in the home ... like prisoners."
Rodica also alleged in her interview that Palmiter drugged Madalina and her mother before selling the girl for $5 million.
"Lately, he would use narcotics to make them sleep, both Madalina and Diana," Rodica told WCNC. "He used these narcotics in their juice. Diana and Madalina drank it, and he took Madalina out of the bedroom and gave her over to traffickers. I don't know to whom."
Both Diana and Palmiter entered pleas of not guilty in court last week and continue to claim they have no idea where Madalina is or what happened to her after she went missing from the family's North Carolina home back in November.
Rodica told WCNC however that she does not think this is true.
"He says he doesn't know anything, but it's not true," said Rodica. "Our Madalina is alive, and Diana was warned that 'if you tell police anything, I will kill you.' Chris knows who he sold our granddaughter to ... but he is involved with criminals."
Rodica also told WCNC that she believes her granddaughter may have undergone plastic surgery to change her physical appearance, thus making it harder for law enforcement to find the girl.
Police arrested Diana Cojocari and Palmiter back on Dec. 17, and Diana remains in custody at the Mecklenburg County Jail.
Records show that Palmiter is no longer behind bars after his bond was lowered from $250,000 to $25,000 last week.
The Cornelius Police Department initially focused their search efforts in and around Madalina's home back in December.
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 after residents reported seeing Diana and her car in the area in the days after her daughter went missing.
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.
She did not report to school that Tuesday or Wednesday before the holiday weekend, according to school officials.
Search efforts for Madalina did not get underway until Dec. 15 however, 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 indicted both Diana and Palmeter on a single count of failing to report the disappearance of a child earlier this year, and that case will head to trial later this year. Diana is also facing a narcotics charge after allegedly being found in possession of fentanyl while behind bars. She claims to have found the drugs in the shower.
The Cornelius Police Department continues to investigate, ad just last month posted an update on Facebook, saying: "We want to bring Madalina home. This has been our priority since we learned she was missing. Please continue to share her picture on social media to help us #FindMadalina and call us if you have any information that can help our detectives at 704-892-7773."
Palmiter and his lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
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