Breaking News
More () »

Mother, stepfather of missing Cornelius girl arrested for failing to report disappearance, police say

Cornelius police arrested Christopher Palmiter and Diana Cojocari for failure to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement.

CORNELIUS, N.C. — The mother and stepfather of a missing 11-year-old Cornelius girl were arrested over the weekend, police announced. 

The Cornelius Police Department announced Saturday that it had arrested Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter in connection with the disappearance of Madalina Cojocari. The couple reported the 11-year-old was missing to a school resource officer at Bailey Middle School on Dec. 15. She was last seen at home on Nov. 23 and hasn't been seen since, according to investigators. 

Diana Cojocari, Madalina's mother, was arrested for failing to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement. Cojocari is expected to face a judge Tuesday.

Palmiter was also arrested, according to police. Palmiter appeared in court Monday, where his bond was increased to $200,000.

In court Monday, prosecutors said both parents have been interviewed but provided authorities with no explanation as to why they waited so long to report the girl missing.

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

Credit: Mecklenburg County Detention Center
Diana Cojocari (left) and Chrsitopher Palmiter

WCNC Charlotte spoke with a former FBI agent who said the timeline of events is what is interesting. Madalina was last seen on Nov. 23. She wasn't reported missing until Dec. 15, 22 days later. 

"You would assume that the [school] district would ask after a few days, because they send notes home, and now in the digital age, we get emails when our kids are out of school for one day," M. Quentin Williams said. "So the parents knew immediately that the child was not in school."

PRESS RELEASE - Update on Missing Juvenile

Posted by Cornelius Police Department on Saturday, December 17, 2022

The FBI announced Friday it was also investigating the case. Agents have asked anyone with information regarding Madalina Cojocari's disappearance to call them immediately. 

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, just download the free app.

Cojocari is described as an 11-year-old white female, weighing 90 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, according to police. She was last seen wearing jeans, pink, purple, and white Adidas shoes, and a white t-shirt and jacket.

Credit: Cornelius Police Department

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Madalina Cojocari is asked to contact the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773.

Note: WCNC Charlotte is showing the mugshots of the suspects in this case because of the public interest.

For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app.


Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
SUBSCRIBEApple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || Google Podcasts 

Locked On is the leading podcast network for local sports and is owned by WCNC Charlotte's parent company TEGNA.
Listen to Locked On here.  

Wake Up Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at Wake Up Charlotte.  
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || TuneIn || Google Podcasts   

All of WCNC Charlotte's podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out