CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – The parents of missing girl Madalina Cojocari appeared in court Thursday, both entering not-guilty pleas, with the judge lowering the bond significantly for the missing girl’s stepfather.

Outside the courthouse, Madalina’s grandmother made some explosive comments to Queen City News after her daughter’s arraignment, saying she strongly believes Madalina was kidnapped and sold to human traffickers.

Diana Cojocari pleaded not guilty Thursday to a felony charge of not reporting Madalina missing.

Diana is still in jail on a $250,000 bond, but her husband, Christopher Palmiter, who has the same charge but now has a bond that is ten times less than that of his wife’s bond, could get out of jail.

A judge reduced Palmiter’s bond Thursday from $200,000 to $25,000. He paid the bond and was released on Friday.

The couple’s daughter was last seen getting off her school bus in November 2022.

She’s now been missing for almost nine months.

Cornelius Police said early on neither of her parents had been cooperative in helping with the investigation.

Rodica Cojocari, Diana’s mother and Madalina’s grandmother, was in court Thursday and spoke with Queen City News outside the courthouse.

A native Russian translator provided a transcript to QCN.

“My children were caught up/by child traffickers,” said Rodica Cojocari in Russian. “My granddaughter is alive. She was sold along with Diana for 5 million dollars.”

She says she wants to take her daughter and granddaughter back to her homeland of Moldova in eastern Europe because she feels they are in danger in the United States.

Reporters asked Rodica if she had a ‘message to Madalina.’

“That I love her very much, very much, Madelina and Diana, I love them very much,” she said. “My Diana is a teacher and a translator of Russian, Romanian, and English languages. She’s an educated child – both Kojarkaris Diana and Kojarkaris Madelina. They are God-fearing people, and they are innocent that they were caught in a trap by criminals and traffickers.”

QCN asked Cornelius Police to respond to Rodica’s allegations that Madalina was kidnapped and sold.

“We are considering all aspects of this investigation, and we will continue to investigate any and all leads that will help us find Madalina,” the Cornelius Police Department said in a statement.

Madalina’s grandmother also tells QCN she’s hopeful the FBI will catch the people she believes kidnapped her granddaughter.