Search for missing Madalina Cojocari continues on her 12th birthday

Madalina Cojocari was last seen by the public shortly before Thanksgiving in 2022.
Before the vigil, Cornelius Police Chief David Baucom answered questions about the investigation.
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 12:03 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2023 at 4:44 AM EDT
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CORNELIUS, N.C. (WBTV) - The Cornelius Police Department hosted a vigil for missing Madalina Cojocari Tuesday night, the day of her 12th birthday.

Madalina was last seen by the public getting off the bus before Thanksgiving 2022 but wasn’t reported missing until weeks later. Since then, Cornelius officers, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI have been searching for the missing pre-teen.

Before the vigil, Cornelius Police Chief David Baucom answered questions about the investigation.

“It motivates us just like it would motivate any parent in any community that had something like this happen,” he said. “This is not something that any community ever expects to happen, and when it does happen, we’ll do everything we can to resolve it.”

However, he shared little details about what they knew, saying they did not want to jeopardize the investigation.

“We’re hopeful we’ll find Madalina, and that we’ll be able to answer all your questions at a future time,” Baucom said.

At the same time, five months later, there’s mounting frustration and worry in the community.

“She’s a really sweet girl and we really miss her,” said her former classmate, Yukari Hernandes.

“I just want her to come back to her house and this community safe,” said her sister, Jennifer.

“I have grandchildren younger than her, older than her. It’s sad. It’s a sad, sad situation that it could happen right here, next door to you,” added Traci Snowden-Thach, who lives in Cornelius.

Cojocari’s mother and stepfather were arrested for failing to report her disappearance.

Officers in the past have said her mother and stepfather “clearly” were not telling authorities everything they know.

Madalina weighs about 90 pounds and was last seen wearing jeans, pink, purple, and white Adidas shoes, and a white t-shirt and jacket.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Madalina Cojocari is asked to contact the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773 or the North Mecklenburg Crimestoppers at 704-896-7867.