Husband put ‘family in danger,’ says mother of missing girl


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — New details obtained by NewsNation affiliate WJZY show the mother of missing 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari believed her husband put the family in danger.

Following a bond setting Tuesday, court records showed that 37-year-old Diana Cojocari had a visit from a detective regarding Madalina’s whereabouts after she reported the young girl missing.

Cojocari told the detective Madalina’s backpack and some of her clothes were missing from the home, she did not have any friends that she would stay with, and being from Moldova, she did not have any family in the area. She also told the detective that she had been in touch with family in Moldova, and despite them advising she contact police, she didn’t. Cojocari reported her daughter missing Dec. 15, three weeks after her disappearance.

The new documents also show the detective observed an area in the kitchen blocked with plywood and was told by Christopher Palmiter, Cojocari’s 60-year-old husband and Madalina’s stepfather, that he had been building a separate apartment.

Both were arrested and charged with failure to report a missing child.

On Tuesday Cojocari’s bond was set at $250,000 and the judge ordered an ankle monitor. Her next court appearance is next Wednesday. Palmiter was held on a $200,000 bond and will also appear in court again next Wednesday.

Court records showed Palmiter drove to Michigan on Nov. 23, the night of her disappearance, following a dispute between him and the mother. Palmiter was told by Cojocari about Madalina’s disappearance three days later, records showed, and Cojocari told authorities she waited three weeks to report her disappearance because she was worried it would affect her relationship with her husband.

The Cornelius Police Department released surveillance video from her school bus on Nov. 21. This is the last time officials had independent confirmation of when she was last seen.

Cornelius Police confirmed Madalina had been living at the home, and Palmiter told police the last time he’d seen Madalina was a week before he left for Michigan. Cojocari and Palmiter were married.

The search for Madalina continued Monday and expanded to Lake Cornelius, which is part of Lake Norman, about 20 minutes from Charlotte.

Neighbors WJZY spoke with described the couple as “nice, but quiet” and said they would see Madalina each day getting off the school bus.

Charlotte FBI and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations are involved in the investigation. Agents were seen going door-to-door on Monday at homes in the Cojocari neighborhood.

The Cornelius community held a vigil Tuesday night and another is planned on Thursday.

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