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Police Believe North Carolina Mother Left Home County After 11-Year-Old Madalina Cojocari Went Missing

Police believe Diana Cojocari (left) drove hours away from home in her Toyota Prius (bottom right) after her daughter Madalina Cojocari went missing.

Police believe Diana Cojocari (left) drove hours away from home in her Toyota Prius (bottom right) after her daughter Madalina Cojocari went missing. [Images via Cornelius Police Department]

It was allegedly almost a month before North Carolina mother Diana Cojocari reported her daughter Madalina Cojocari missing, and now cops suggest this adult left their home county in the intervening days.

The Cojocaris lived with the child’s stepfather Christopher Palmiter in the Mecklenburg County town of Cornelius, north of Charlotte. The last confirmed sighting of Madalina, age 11, was her getting off a school bus on Nov. 21, cops previously said. Her mother Diana allegedly reported her missing to cops only on Dec. 15, after school officials pressed her on the child’s whereabouts. Now cops want eyewitnesses who might have seen Diana and her Toyota Prius in Madison County, which is an estimated two and a half hour drive west-northwest from Cornelius.

“We are seeking firsthand eyewitness information from anyone who may have seen Toyota Prius or white female in the area between the dates of November 22nd to December 15th, 2022,” officers wrote.

Police ask that anyone with information on the child’s whereabouts to contact them at (704) 892-7773.

“You may also contact your local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or you can submit a tip online at,” they wrote.

Madalina was last seen wearing jeans; pink, purple, and white Adidas shoes; and a white t-shirt and jacket, officers have said.

You can see video below of Madalina stepping off her school bus on Nov. 21.

As previously reported, Diana Cojocari and her husband Palmiter were arrested for allegedly failing to report Madalina missing. They’ve since been indicted. Cops have said the couple know more than they have been letting on.

“This is a serious case of a child whose parents clearly are not telling us everything they know,” Capt. Jennifer Thompson of the Cornelius Police Department said in a statement released Dec. 27.

Diana Cojocari, and Christopher Palmiter. Madalina Cojocari.

Mother Diana Cojocari, and stepfather Christopher Palmiter in booking photos next to a picture of daughter Madalina Cojocari.

Diana allegedly told investigators she last saw her daughter at their Cornelius home on the night of Nov. 23 but her child was not home the following morning, Thanksgiving. Palmiter had driven off to Michigan to pick up items from his family’s home, she said in arrest documents.

Palmiter allegedly told a similar story: that he went to Michigan to pick up some things.

Diana Cojocari allegedly said she waited for him to return Saturday, Nov. 26 and asked him Madalina’s whereabouts. He said he did not know. Palmiter allegedly told cops that he did not see Madalina the day he left (Nov. 23, in his version of events), and he believed that the last time he saw Madalina was a week before his trip.

“I [the affiant] asked Diana why she did not report Madalina missing until now,” authorities said. “Diana stated she was worried it might start a ‘conflict’ between her and Christopher.”

She said that she and Palmiter got into an argument the night she last saw Madalina.

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