Where is Madalina? One year later, Cornelius girl still missing as parents await trial

Cornelius residents and local officials gathered Tuesday night to remember Madalina Cojocari and to call for her safe return home.

Her mom told police she last saw Madalina the night of Nov. 23, 2022, but the last time police were able to independently confirm her whereabouts was Nov. 21, getting off the school bus at a stop near her home.

Law enforcement continue to ask the public’s help for clues to her whereabouts.

Who is Madalina?

Madalina is a 12-year-old Cornelius girl who was 11 and a student at Bailey Middle School when she disappeared.

What about her parents?

Madalina’s mother and step-father, Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter, waited approximately three weeks before reporting her missing to authorities Dec. 15, police said.

They were arrested two days later for failing to report the disappearance of a minor, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

Palmiter, 61, posted bond at the Mecklenburg County Jail in August. Cojocari remained jailed Tuesday. Their trial dates have not been set, according to a court records search by the Observer Tuesday.

What police say parents’ calls revealed

Listening to Cojocari’s calls from jail, police heard her suggest that Palmiter gave Madalina “away for money,” the Observer reported in July, citing newly-unsealed court records.

“In one recorded jail call between Diana and her mother, the women discuss a bag with money, withdrawing cash, and a ‘theory that Chris gave the girl away for money,’” according to a search warrant filed by police to obtain bank records, the Observer reported.

Search warrants in Mecklenburg County confirm police obtained surveillance video footage from a place near Sugar Mountain and believe Madalina was with a man there on Dec. 16, WBTV reported in July. The man, WBTV and WSOC reported, could be one of Diana Cojocari’s relatives.

Still, the girl remains missing.

What Madalina was last seen wearing

Police say Madalina wore jeans, pink, purple and white Adidas shoes, a white T-shirt and jacket the last time she was seen.

She is 4 feet, 10 inches tall, has dark brown hair and weighs about 90 pounds, police said at the time of her reported disappearance.

Have you seen Madalina?

Police urge anyone with information on Madalina’s whereabouts to call the Cornelius Department at 704-892-7773 or the North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers anonymous tips line at 704-896-7867.