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11-year-old Missing from North Carolina; Step Dad Sentenced for Alleged Delay in Missing Report

11-year-old Missing from North Carolina; Step Dad Sentenced for Alleged Delay in Missing Report

A North Carolina jury swiftly reached a verdict in the case involving the disappearance of an 11-year-old girl, finding her stepfather guilty in just 14 minutes.

Police have released surveillance footage of the last known sighting of Madalina Cojocari, a sixth grader from Cornelius, N.C., who had a passion for horses. On November 21, 2022, she was seen walking off her school bus before disappearing.

Weeks later on December 15, her mother, Diana Cojocari, reported her missing. According to court documents, she reportedly attributed the delay in reporting to her husband, Christopher Palmiter, expressing concerns about his reaction.

According to court documents, it is claimed that Palmiter traveled to Michigan during the period when his stepdaughter went missing.

Madalina’s body remains undiscovered, and her mother and stepfather were arrested and charged with neglecting to report her disappearance, just two days after the delayed missing person’s report.

According to a heartfelt two-page handwritten letter dated December 22, 2022, and shared by the police on Facebook, Madalina is described as a wonderful 11-year-old girl with a bright future ahead of her. Her extended family speaks highly of her beauty, intelligence, kindness, and loving nature. “We are urgently seeking her at this moment, and she requires the collective support of everyone.”

Authorities have reported that the young girl, who measures four feet and ten inches, weighed 90 pounds at the time of her disappearance. She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, jeans, a jacket, and pink, purple, and white Adidas shoes.

During the initial stages of the search, Capt. Jennifer Thompson of the Cornelius Police Department provided an update in a recorded press conference. She mentioned that a large number of investigators were involved in the case, diligently following up on nearly 250 leads. They conducted extensive canvassing of the area and interviewed numerous individuals, both within North Carolina and beyond state borders, including international inquiries. The case was also investigated by the FBI.

“One of the challenges in this case, to put it simply, we were not informed of her absence, which resulted in a three-week delay,” Thompson stated at the time.

During the trial in May, Palmiter’s defense attorneys argued that the stepfather had been influenced by his wife into believing that Madalina was not at risk.

According to the outlet, Palmiter, who testified in his own defense, suggested that Diana had taken someone with her Moldovan family. “I think Diana has hidden her in a place where she won’t be discovered.”

According to an FBI analyst testifying for the prosecution, phone and email records indicated that Palmiter was aware of his stepdaughter’s disappearance but failed to report it to authorities.

Palmiter was found guilty of failing to report her disappearance by the Charlotte jury

Madalina’s mother admitted her guilt for the same offense and received a prison sentence of six to 17 months in May. After serving 510 days, she was eventually released.

According to the outlet, Palmiter has been sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation for his involvement in the girl’s disappearance. The lawyer stated their intention to appeal the sentence.

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