Family of missing girl Madalina Cojocari ‘seen burning household items in backyard’ days after 11-year-old went missing
MISSING Madalina Cojocari’s family burned household items in their garden days after the girl’s disappearance, a new report revealed.
The 11-year-old schoolgirl was last seen on her school bus in Cornelius, North Carolina on November 21, according to footage released by the FBI.
But she was not reported missing by her mother Diana Cojocar, 37, until December 15.
She told police she has not seen her daughter since Nov. 23, ABC reports.
It has now emerged that a fire burned at Madalina’s home for days after she went missing but before she was reported missing.
A neighbor told the Daily Mail police had “taken all sorts of samples from around the fire pit”.
They added, “I think they were trying to figure out if they burned anything substantial there.”
The fire department confirmed the fire but did not provide any further information.
It comes as new footage emerged this week of the hunt for Madalina.
In video taken on her school bus – which shows Madalina’s last known whereabouts – the young woman can be seen doing her hair and wearing a white shirt and a backpack.
She stands behind a line of classmates before getting off the bus.
Madalina’s mother and stepfather Christopher Palmiter, 60, have since been charged with failing to report a missing child.
The FBI in Charlotte said Tuesday that the newly released footage “is the last time investigators have independent confirmation as to when Madalina was last seen.”
They added: “She got off the bus on 11/21/22 at 4:59pm
“We are seeking additional witnesses from outside the family to narrow the exact time of her disappearance.”
Court documents obtained by WBTV revealed mother Diana told police her husband Christopher had “put their family at risk”.
An arrest record also revealed that Diana was concerned that reporting Madalina’s disappearance “could spark a conflict” between her and Christopher, WCNC reports.
During interviews with police, Diana also claimed that Christopher fled the house on the day Madalina was last seen following an argument.
An arrest sheet shows that Palmiter drove to Michigan from her home in North Carolina the day after the girl disappeared on November 23.
Although Madalina’s mother Diana said she last saw her daughter around 10pm local time the night before – November 24 – she only reported her missing this month.
Palmiter said he went to Michigan to pick up “items” from family members in the state and returned to North Carolina on Nov. 26.
He and Cojocari told authorities they had asked each other about Madalina’s disappearance, but neither knew where she had gone.
At a court hearing on Tuesday, a judge said Cojocari “obstructed the investigation” and was “reluctant” to report her daughter’s disappearance, WJZY reported.
The investigation only began when Cojocari arrived at Bailey Middle School last Thursday for a meeting about her daughter’s truancy.
She was supposed to bring Madalina to the appointment, but didn’t.
According to the arrest sheet, Madalina’s school counselor called the police to the building and encouraged Cojocari to report her daughter missing.
The Cornelius Police Department said on Tuesday, “As previously released, staff at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg-School have contacted Diana Cojocari on several occasions to inquire if Madalina is not at school.”
Cojocari’s bail was set at $250,000 on Tuesday, while Palmiter’s was set at $200,000 the previous day. It is not known whether they are currently in custody.
On Monday, authorities expanded their search area to include a lake near Cornelius, about 30 minutes north of Charlotte.
Horrified neighbors watched on Friday as the family’s home and backyard were searched in hopes of finding evidence of Madalina’s disappearance.
Police say Madalina is 4 feet, 10 inches tall, weighs about 90 pounds, and has brown eyes and brown hair.
The 11-year-old was last spotted in jeans, pink, purple and white Adidas shoes, a white t-shirt and a jacket.
Anyone with information regarding Madalina’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Cornelius Police Department at (704) 892-7773.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6979436/missing-girl-madalina-cojocari-yard-fire-parents/ Family of missing girl Madalina Cojocari ‘seen burning household items in backyard’ days after 11-year-old went missing