Cornelius Police Chief David Baucom in North Carolina said this week that the disappearance of 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari is not a cold case, despite the lack of current updates, WSOC-TV reports.
“This is not a cold case. We have detectives working this case every single day,” Baucom said during a community breakfast event in Cornelius. “We just can’t talk about it. Just because we’re not talking about it, doesn’t mean we’re not doing anything.”
“The next steps are what we’re doing right now. We’re still following up on leads. It is still an active investigation.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Madalina was reported missing in Cornelius 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 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.
The affidavit also said Palmiter left for Michigan around the time of Madalina’s disappearance, although there has been conflicting information on exactly when he left.
In December 2022, the FBI released footage from a school bus security camera, which showed Madalina in a white shirt and backpack as she exited the bus at 4:59 p.m. on November 21 in Cornelius.
This is the last time investigators have independent confirmation of when Madalina was last seen. She got off the bus on 11-21-22, at 4:59 p.m. We are seeking additional witnesses outside of the family to narrow down the exact timeline of when she disappeared. #FindMadalina pic.twitter.com/dkStKHmjjB
— FBI Charlotte (@FBICharlotte) December 20, 2022
“This is the last time investigators have independent confirmation of when Madalina was last seen. She got off the bus on 11-21-22, at 4:59 p.m. We are seeking additional witnesses outside of the family to narrow down the exact timeline of when she disappeared,” the FBI Charlotte said.
Police said Cojocari “begrudgingly” reported her daughter missing, as she “was worried it would affect her relationship with her husband.” The pair reportedly had an argument the night Madalina disappeared, when Palmiter left for Michigan, where his family lives.
Madalina was officially reported missing after school officials arrived at the home for a truancy check on December 12. On December 15, Cojacari had a meeting with the school, and a missing persons report was subsequently filed.
Both Palmiter and Cojocari remain behind bars for failure to report a child missing.
Meanwhile, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham, who attended the community breakfast, expressed her gratitude that the search and investigation continue.
“I was glad to hear that they are working on it constantly,” Cotham said. “And they don’t consider it a cold case. It’s an active case. That made me feel a lot better.”
“I know everyone misses her – her family and her friends at her school. So, hopefully, she’ll be returned soon.”
Baucom added that he’s “confident” that they will find Madalina.
“We’re going to find her. That’s been our goal from the start,” Baucom said. “We’re going to find Madalina. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but we’re not going to stop.”
Madalina is described as a white female who stands 4 feet, 10 inches tall, and weighs 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]