WBTV reporter fights for access to unseal Madalina Cojocari investigation documents

What exactly were investigators looking for and what did they find? Those questions remain unanswered.
The search for the missing 11-year-old Cornelius girl is now in its sixth week.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 9:16 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In a new push to find out what exactly happened to Madalina Cojocari, WBTV’s Chief Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner exclusively petitioned, on his own, to unseal search warrants related to the case.

» You can read the full motion for access to those documents here.

The search for the missing 11-year-old Cornelius girl is now in its sixth week.

Investigators were seen recently at her home. Her parents were arrested and remain behind bars on a state charge of failing to report a missing child.

But there is still nothing from investigators at the Mecklenburg County courthouse as the request for details from the search warrants continues.

A key document could spotlight what happened in the days before and after Madalina was last seen.

Cornelius Police and agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation executed three search warrants days before Christmas.

When those warrants were returned back to the Mecklenburg County courthouse last Friday they were supposed to become public. Instead, a judge ruled they should stay secret.

Those warrants include one for the house where Madalina lived with her parents Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter, one for the couple’s cell phone records, and one for the contents of Palmiter’s physical phone.

But what exactly were investigators looking for and what did they find? Those questions remain unanswered.

A judge sealed the warrants and the documents outlining what those warrants turned up.

Ochsner was able to obtain the order that says those records should be secret.

According to the court order to seal the records, the presiding judge said that “given the current level of media attention, release of the search warrants...at this time into the public domain could interfere with the rights of Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter to a fair trial.”

The order also said that “release of the Search Warrant affidavit into the public domain at this stage may interfere with the ability of detectives to recover additional untainted information from witnesses and could hinder the efforts to locate Madalina Cojocari.”

The judge who sealed these search warrants will hold a hearing on his request to unseal these documents. That will happen on January 6, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.

Ochsner will continue to provide updates on those search warrants and any developments into where exactly Madalina could be.