Madalina Cojocari

‘Know much more than they’re leading on’: Search Warrant Delay Could Assist Police in Missing Madalina Cojocari Case, Lawyer Says

A North Carolina defense attorney says the delayed search warrant in connection with the disappearance of 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari could ultimately end up working in police favor.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Madalina was reported missing on December 15, although her mother, 35-year-old Diana Cojocari, says she hasn’t seen her since November 23. The FBI and several other agencies, including the State Bureau of Investigation, have joined the search efforts and investigation.

According to an arrest affidavit, Cojocari told detectives that she didn’t immediately report Madalina missing because she was concerned that her husband, Christopher Palmiter, 60, would put her family in danger and that it “might start a conflict” with him.

Cojocari also told investigators that some of Madalina’s clothes were missing but that she couldn’t think of anywhere her daughter may have gone. Most of their family, according to Cojocari, live in Moldova, a country in Eastern Europe.

Police arrested Cojocari and her husband, Christopher Palmiter, 60, and charged them with failure to report her disappearance.

North Carolina criminal defense attorney Mark Jetton told Fox 8 that although search warrants are public records, law enforcement can request the files to be sealed to protect the integrity of the case.

“In every investigation that goes on, the folks that are in the investigation, the law enforcement, they always know much more than they’re leading on,” Jetton said.

Further, Jetton said North Carolina law doesn’t enforce a time period in which law enforcement is required to turn the warrant in.

“This certainly could be part of their investigation. (They could be saying) ‘Hey, we’re not going to return it to the clerk’s office because we don’t want to get it out to the public,’” Jetton said.

In response, the Cornelius Police Department stated that “any unreturned documents are still being processed by law enforcement and will be returned upon completion. CPD is taking all measure to ensure a thorough investigation, including practice of the utmost diligence.”

Jetton believes that the unreturned documents could mean that investigators found evidence inside the home that will help the investigation but could end up hindering the case if they become open to the public.

The suspects are being held at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center. The judge set Cojacori’s bond at $250,000 and initially set Palmiter’s bond at $100,000, which was later raised to $200,000.

Madalina is described as being 4-feet-10-inches tall and weighing around 90 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on Madalina should call the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773. To remain anonymous, call North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers at 704-896-7867.

Check back for updates.

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[Featured image: Police Handout]