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Police Ask For More Help In Finding Madalina Cojocari, Months After Parents Failed To Report Disappearance
“Flood the area with her precious face," the Cornelius Police Department told their community on Facebook this week, hoping to generate more tips in the case.
Police are begging for the public’s continued assistance in locating a missing 11-year-old North Carolina girl who wasn’t reported missing until weeks after she was last seen by her family.
Madalina Cojocari’s disappearance has flummoxed authorities, who have struggled to locate the sixth grader after she was reported missing by her mother on Dec. 15, approximately three weeks after she was last seen alive.
On Thursday, the Cornelius Police Department again appealed to the public in a desperate attempt to gather new leads regarding the missing 11-year-old.
"Thank you for continuing to spread information on social media to help us #FindMadalina," The Cornelius Police Department said in a Facebook post on Jan. 19. "We still need your assistance in continuing to flood the area with her precious face."
Hundreds of officers and agents from multiple agencies, including the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI, are assisting local authorities in the search for the girl.
Madalina’s mother, Diana Cojocari and stepfather Christopher Palmiter, 60, were charged in December for failing to report the 11-year-old’s disappearance.
Diana Cojocari told investigators she last saw the 11-year-old alive at their Cornelius, North Carolina home on Nov. 23, according to court documents, Fox News reported. She was last spotted in public getting off a school bus on Nov. 21.
Detectives, however, say Diana Cojocari waited until Dec. 15 to report Madalina Cojocari missing after Charlotte-Mecklenburg School employees contacted her multiple times regarding her ongoing absence.
Authorities, who since then have conducted a “massive investigation” into the 11-year-old’s missing persons case, have stressed the delay had severely hindered investigative efforts to locate her.
“One of the challenges in the case, simply put, we were not notified she was gone — a delay of three weeks,” Captain Jennifer Thompson of the Cornelius Police Department said in a video posted to social media on Dec. 27.
Authorities have also accused her parents of intentionally withholding information from investigators.
Diana Cojocari allegedly told to school workers that she’d last seen her daughter when the 11-year-old went to bed on the evening before Thanksgiving. The North Carolina mother also claimed she and Palmiter had engaged in a verbal argument the same night and that he then departed on a trip to Michigan to visit family. Diana Cojocari said that her daughter was nowhere to be found the following morning.
She added that she didn’t attempt to inform Palmiter or notify police regarding Madalina’s disappearance because she was afraid it would exacerbate the couple’s ongoing dispute.
The girl’s stepfather later admitted to detectives that he’d driven to his family’s home in Michigan to “recover some items,” per Fox News but hadn’t seen the girl for roughly a week prior to leaving. Upon his return, Palmiter divulged that he’d confronted Diana Cojocari about hiding the girl, which she denied. She also asked him if he knew her whereabouts, which he allegedly said he didn’t. Neither immediately reported the 11-year-old’s disappearance to law enforcement.
Earlier this month, Cornelius Police announced that they suspect Diana Cojocari may have taken a trip to the mountains in Madison County, North Carolina sometime between Nov. 22 and Dec. 15. They’re currently seeking eyewitnesses who may have seen the 37-year-old mother or the silver Toyota Prius she was believed to have been driving.
Law enforcement also seized a number of mobile devices from the family’s North Carolina property, Charlotte television station WCNC-TV reported.
On Dec. 22, Madalina Cojocari’s other family said they were “devastated” and “absolutely heartbroken” by her disappearance in a handwritten note released by investigators.
"Madalina is a beautiful, smart, kind and loving 11-year-old girl with greatness in her future," her family wrote. "We are desperate to find her right now, she needs all of our help."
Oxygen.com has reached out to the Cornelius Police Department for further information.
Anyone with additional information pertaining to Madalina Cojocari’s whereabouts or other information relevant to the case is urged to call the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773 or the FBI at 1-800-Call FBI.