CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A somber celebration occurred Tuesday night in Cornelius.

April 11 marked Madalina Cojocari’s 12th birthday.

The young girl was last seen getting off her school bus in Cornelius on November 21, 2022, but her parents did not report her missing until three weeks later.

Ever since her disappearance, the community has been holding out hope for the little girl’s safety. On Tuesday evening, Cornelius Police gathered at their department to honor Madalina’s birthday.

Cornelius Police have not conducted any interviews with the media since this case began in 2022, but they gave a prepared statement Tuesday evening.

That can be watched below:

The last update the public received on this case came in February 2023, and it came from the courts. A search warrant revealed Madalina’s mother, Diana Cojocari, asked a distant relative for help smuggling Madalina away from their home due to problems in her marriage to Christopher Palmiter, Madalina’s stepfather.

The documents revealed that a distant relative had possible ties to a known drug smuggling operation and a drug-sniffing K-9 altered to Diana’s vehicle.

The search warrants did not reveal if they found any drugs inside her vehicle, but they did find foreign passports for both her and Madalina and work and school documents.

Christopher Palmiter and Diana Cojocari are still in jail, both charged with failing to report a missing child. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773.