Search Continues For North Carolina Girl, 11, Whose Parents Didn’t Report Her Missing For Weeks

Madalina Cojocari was last seen getting off her school bus in November 2022.

February 17, 2023
Madalina Cojocari, 11, was last seen getting off her school bus on Nov. 21, 2022.

Surveillance video recorded on a school bus on Nov. 21, 2022, shows 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari exiting near her home in Cornelius, but she hasn’t been seen since.

Photo by: FBI


By: Aaron Rasmussen

The FBI is seeking information about the whereabouts of an 11-year-old girl in North Carolina last seen after school days before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Surveillance video recorded on a school bus on Nov. 21, 2022, shows Madalina exiting near her home in Cornelius, but she hasn’t been seen since.

The child’s mother, Diana Cojocari, and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, reported last having contact with her two days later, on Nov. 23, 2022, according to the FBI.

The girl, however, was only reported missing to her school the following month, on Dec. 15.

In a YouTube video posted to the FBI’s website, Cornelius Police Department Capt. Jennifer Thompson explains a school resource officer and counselor attempted to contact Madalina’s mother “due to a high number of absences.”

“After agreeing to bring Madalina to school, Diana Cojocari showed up alone, saying she didn’t know where her daughter was and hadn’t seen her since Nov. 23,” Thompson says, noting both the missing girl’s mother and stepfather have since been charged with failure to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement.

According to an arrest report obtained by Inside Edition, Diana said she and Palmiter got into an argument the last night she claimed to have seen Madalina alive.

The next morning, the report reads, Palmiter “drove to his family's house in Michigan to recover some items.”

When the arresting officer asked Diana why she waited so long to file a missing person report on her daughter, the document states the mother claimed “she was worried it might start a 'conflict' between her and Christopher.”

According to the FBI, Madalina was last seen wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and jacket, and pink, purple and white Adidas shoes.

Madalina has brown hair and eyes, stands 4’ 10” and weighs around 90 pounds.

“In a missing child investigation, every second counts,” Capt. Thompson says in the video. “Unfortunately, in this case, it was more than three weeks before our department was notified [Madalina] was missing.”

Thompson adds, “Despite being hampered by the timeline, we are doing everything possible to find her.”

On the afternoon of Feb. 14, WSOC-TV reported investigators and a K-9 officer spent around two hours at the missing child’s home.

Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Madalina Cojocari is urged to contact the Cornelius Police Department at (704) 892-7773, a local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or submit a tip online at

Next Up

Michigan Teen Ciara Stacho Disappeared In 2015, Remains Missing Today

Ciara Stacho went missing from Michigan in August 2015. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) produced an age-enhanced photo of what Ciara Stacho may look like as an 18-year-old.

Shaniece Harris Disappeared From New York In 2017, Her Family Is Still Searching For Answers

Shaniece Harris has brown hair, brown eyes, and stands 5 feet 8 inches tall. She was 31 years old when she vanished. If you have any information on where Shaniece could be, please contact the FBI directly: 212-384-1000.

‘Maybe Someday Someone Will Break’: Alabama Mother Searches For Daughter Who Vanished In 2010

“I miss her and I'm going to keep looking until she gets here,” Regina Benjamin says of her daughter who disappeared at 17 on her way to a flea market.

‘I'm Still Searching For My Baby’: Georgia Mother Hopes For Answers In Daughter’s Disappearance

Shy’Kemmia “Shy Shy” Pate vanished without a trace at age 8 while playing outside her family’s home.

Brooklyn Woman Missing For Over A Month After Accepting Job Online

23-year-old TiJae Baker took a train from New York City to Washington, D.C. on May 1, 2022 and hasn’t been seen since.

Diamond And Tionda Bradley Vanished In 2001

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said thousands of leads have come in over the years on this case, but the girls (now women) have never been located.

Oregon Mother Of Four Who Was To Meet Up With Teen Son Suddenly Vanishes

“Physically I just wish I could hug her again and tell her how much we really love her,” says the daughter of Graciela Garcia.

What Happened To Toddler Daphne Webb Who Vanished From Oakland, California In 2013?

If you know anything about where Daphne Webb could be, please call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: 1-800-THE-LOST or the Oakland Police Department's Missing Persons Unit directly: 510-238-3641.

Jesus Dominguez Went Missing From Texas As A Toddler, His Mom Isn't Giving Up On Her Son

If you have any information on where Jesus Dominguez, who is now a teenager, and his father Claudio Dominiguez could be, please reach The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children directly: 1-800-THE-LOST.

Child Who Went Missing From A Washington Mall In 2018 Found Safe In Mexico

8-year-old Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez, who had been missing since 2018, was found alive and well in Mexico and returned to the United States.