Madalina Cojocari’s stepdad convicted for not reporting her missing


MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — A year and a half after Madalina Cojocari vanished, a Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, jury found her stepfather guilty of failing to report her 2022 disappearance.

Christopher Palmiter was convicted Friday on a felony charge of failing to report his stepdaughter’s disappearance. Palmiter was sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation, according to the Cornelius Police Department.

His conviction and sentencing came two weeks after the missing girl’s mother, Diana Cojocari, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of failure to report a child’s disappearance.

According to a Mecklenburg County judge, because Diana Cojocari is not a citizen and has pleaded guilty to a felony, she will likely be deported. She acknowledged that she understood.

Madalina Cojocari disappears

Madalina Cojocari, now 13, went missing in late November 2022. She was 11 at the time of her disappearance. Her mother, Diana Cojocari, told police she last saw Madalina on Nov. 23, 2022, but the last confirmed sighting of Madalina was on Nov. 21, when she was getting off the school bus.

Diana Cojocari said clothing and other items were missing from her daughter’s room when she went to check in on her on Thanksgiving. Family members have said Madalina Cojocari was sold to child traffickers.

However, Diana Cojocari did not report her daughter missing until Dec. 15, 2022, when Diana arrived for a meeting at the girl’s school without her daughter.

The delay in reporting hampered the police response, and multiple theories have been raised regarding her disappearance.

Palmiter claims Diana Cojocari hid Madalina in the mountains of western North Carolina, where warrants revealed she traveled after the 11-year-old disappeared. Palmiter said Diana Cojocari believed her daughter was in danger after he named her as a beneficiary on an investment account.

Where is Madalina Cojocari?

Footage from Dec. 16, 2022, shows a young girl with a man in Sugar Mountain, North Carolina. Police said the footage was consistent with the appearance of Madalina Cojocari and her only known blood relative in the U.S.

The discovery of human remains in the Pisgah National Forest in Madison County, North Carolina, not far from where Diana Cojocari traveled, sparked speculation, but police said early indications suggested the remains were that of an older man.

Cornelius police have vowed not to give up on the search for Madalina. Anyone with any information on her should call the Cornelius police at 704-892-7773 or the North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers tip line at 704-896-7867.

Devan Markham
Devan Markham
Digital Reporter. Previously, Markham worked as a freelance associate producer for entertainment networks Netflix and MTV, where she worked on hit reality TV shows Love is Blind and Siesta Key. Originally from Chicago, Markham graduated from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, with a degree in Digital Journalism.

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