Madalina Cojocari, an 11-year-old girl from Cornelius, North Carolina, has been missing since Nov. 21, 2022, but police are still trying to piece together the exact time of her disappearance and current whereabouts.
The girl's mother, Diana Cojocari, and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, have been arrested and charged with failure to report a missing child to law enforcement after they waited weeks to inform school and police officials about their daughter's disappearance.
This is what is known about the 11-year-old's mysterious vanishing.
The 6th grader at Bailey Middle School, is last seen on video footage exiting a Cornelius school bus around 5 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2022, a Monday. This is also the last time Bailey Middle School staff saw Madalina before her disappearance, according to Mecklenburg County court documents.
Cojocari allegedly sees her daughter for the last time on the evening of Nov. 23 — the day before Thanksgiving.
Madalina goes to bed around 10 p.m. that evening after her mother and Palmiter get into an argument, according to court documents.
Palmiter drives to his family's home in Michigan on Thanksgiving Day to "recover some items."
Cojocari enters Madalina's room around 11:30 a.m. that morning and discovers that the 11-year-old is gone.
Cojocari waits until Nov. 26, when Palmiter returns from Michigan to their home in Cornelius, to ask if he knows where Madalina is.
Palmiter tells his wife that he does not know where the 11-year-old went and asks Cojocari "the same question in return," according to the affidavit.
A Bailey Middle School counselor calls Cojocari and requests a meeting on Dec. 15. The mother apparently states that she will bring Madalina to school the day of the meeting, according to a probable cause affidavit.
As promised, Cojocari shows up to the middle school on Dec. 15 — but without her daughter, who has not been to school for a month at that point.
Cojocari tells school officials and local police that she last saw her daughter go into her bedroom the night of Nov. 23 after arguing with her husband.
When detectives ask Cojocari why she waited until Dec. 15 to report her daughter missing, the mother says "she was worried it might start a ‘conflict’ between her" and Palmiter, court documents state. Cornelius police issue a search warrant for Cojocari's and Palmiter's address.
Palmiter tells investigators that he believes the last time he saw his stepdaughter was nearly a week after he left home to visit relatives in Michigan Nov. 24, potentially extending the date of Madalina's last known whereabouts.
Cornelius police issue search warrants for cellphone records and the following items at Madalina's family home: electronic devices, articles of clothing, weapons, financial documents, bodily fluids, hair, fiber, and signs of criminal activity.
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Cornelius police issue a search warrant for additional items at Madalina's family home.
Madalina's family pens a handwritten note expressing their concern for the missing 11-year-old that the Cornelius Police Department shares with the public.
"Madalina is a beautiful, smart, kind and loving 11-year-old girl with greatness in her future," the family's note reads. "We are desperate to find her right now, she needs all of our help."
Cornelius police arrest and charge Cojocari and Palmiter for failure to report a missing child to law enforcement. They are ordered held on $250,000 and $200,000 bond, respectively.
The Cornelius Police Department (CPD) issues an announcement asking the public for any information about any sightings of Cojocari or a light green Toyota Prius between Mecklenberg and Madison County between Nov. 22 and Dec. 15 to narrow down the timeline of her daughter's disappearance.
The search for Madalina remains active and ongoing. The FBI is assisting CPD with its search.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about Madalina's whereabouts to contact CPD at 704-892-7773.