The mother and stepfather of missing North Carolina girl Madalina Cojocari are “clearly” withholding information about her disappearance, police said.
Cornelius Police Department Capt. Jennifer Thompson on Tuesday accused Diana Cojocari, 37, and her husband, Christopher Palmiter, 60 of failing to disclose everything they know about the disappearance of the sixth-grader, who was reported missing three weeks after her last sighting.
“This is a serious case of a child whose parents are clearly not telling us everything they know,” Capt. Jennifer Thompson, with the Cornelius Police, said in a video update on the investigation.
Cojocari and Palmiter have both been charged with failing to report a child as missing to law enforcement.
Both parents were scheduled to appear in court later Wednesday for a bond hearing.
According to court documents that emerged last week, Madalina’s mother told police she “believed her husband put her family in danger.”
In an affidavit obtained by Queen City News, Cojocari told detectives that on Nov 23 — the night she claimed she last saw her 11-year-old daughter — the mom had gotten into an argument with her husband and he drove off to stay with family in Michigan.
Cojocari said she last saw Madalina going to her room at 10 p.m. that evening.
The following morning, she went to check on Madalina and realized she was not home, but she waited three days to tell her husband about the child’s disappearance.
Police “asked Diana why she did not report Madalina missing until” mid-December, and she “stated she was worried it might start a ‘conflict’ between her and Christopher,” officials wrote in the affidavit.
In Tuesday’s update, Thompson said that officials at Madalina’s school had made repeated attempts to contact her family to ask about her absences. But it was not until Dec. 15 that mom Diana went to the school to report her daughter as missing.
Since then, the FBI and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have joined the search for the missing girl, which has come to involve hundreds of officers and agents.
Thompson said that cops have followed up on 250 leads “across state lines and around the globe,” canvassed 245 homes and businesses in the community where the girl lived, and interviewed hundreds of people.
Last week, the FBI released video footage of Madalina getting off a school bus on Nov. 21, stressing that it was the last confirmed sighting of her, two days before her mom claims she last saw her.
“We know everyone has a lot of questions,” the police captain said in the video. “We also have questions and are doing everything we can, with proper legal authority, to get those answers.”
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