CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – The mother of 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari discussed “smuggling” her and her daughter from their Cornelius home before when the girl’s disappearance was reported, according to a warrant obtained Wednesday by Queen City News.
The warrant revealed that a distant relative of Diana Cojocari told police that she had asked him for help smuggling her and Madalina away from their home because of her stormy relationship with the girl’s stepfather, Christopher.
Phone records obtained by law enforcement showed the relative and the mother had extensive contact, including multiple calls to unidentified individuals involved in drug trafficking. “Persons involved in drug trafficking are also associated with human trafficking,” the warrant stated. It was unclear who made the phone calls to the suspected drug traffickers.
According to the warrant, a K-9 alerted law enforcement to possible narcotics inside a green Toyota Prius, which allowed officials to execute another warrant for a home search on Feb. 15. It is unclear now if narcotics were actually located.
According to the district attorney’s office, a grand jury indicted the mother and stepfather of missing 11-year-old Cornelius girl Madalina Cojocari for failing to report a child’s disappearance to law enforcement.
The missing girl was last seen as she got off her school bus in Cornelius on November 21, 2022.
Her mother and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, reportedly said they last saw Madalina on November 23.
According to a Mecklenburg County warrant obtained by Queen City News, Diana Cojocari and Palmiter had an argument on Nov. 23. During the argument, Madalina went into her room to go to bed around 10 p.m. Palmiter then decided to drive to Michigan, where he has family, to pick up items. Around 11:30 a.m. the following day, Cojocari went into Madalina’s room to check on her, and Madalina was gone.
Palmiter was told about Madalina’s disappearance three days later, records showed, and Cojocari said she waited until December 15, 2022, to report her disappearance because she was worried it would affect her relationship with her husband.
Investigators also said they were seeking firsthand eyewitnesses that may have seen Diana Cojocari or a Toyota Prius in the Madison County area, near Asheville, between the date when the girl was last seen and when she was reported missing three weeks later.
If you have firsthand information that could help detectives, please contact the Cornelius Police Department at (704)-892-7773 or your local FBI office.