Mother of Madalina Cojocari found with drugs in jail, warrants say

She was placed in the Mecklenburg County Detention Center in December.
Diana Cojocari was recently charged with felony possession of a controlled substance while in jail.
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 5:42 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The mother of missing Cornelius girl Madalina Cojocari is facing a new charge.

Diana Cojocari was recently charged with felony possession of a controlled substance while in jail. She’s being held at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center, where she has been since December 2022 when she was charged with failing to report the disappearance of her daughter.

According to court officials, white powder testing positive for cocaine- and fentanyl-based substances was found in her shirt pocket during a search on March 17. She was given a $5,000 bond for that charge.

Cojocari appeared in court on the drug charge April 14 and said she found the bag by the showers.

In a one-on-one interview with WBTV, Cornelius police Chief David Baucom said although he cannot comment on the new drug charge, he confirms this is information they will be looking into for their investigation.

“It’s related because, you know, she’s the mother of our missing child,” he said. “Anything related to drugs or any other illegal activity is again part of the case.”

Adding to the complexity of the case, the investigation also uncovered phone records from late last year, tying Diana to people involved in drug trafficking.

[Months-long search for missing Madalina Cojocari continues on her 12th birthday]

Baucom said this latest twist is just the most recent turn in the now five-month long case that has so far been an unusual one.

“There’s only about three or four agencies in the state that have had anything even similar to this,” Baucom said. “I think about the Asha Degree case in Cleveland County, I think about the Zahra Baker case in Hickory, Catawba County, the Erica Parsons case...but other than that, I mean, I’m not really aware of any other investigations kind of similar to this.”

The chief said the Cornelius Police Department will continue devoting resources to get to the bottom of the Madalina case.

“We’re committed and we’re going to continue to work this case,” he said. “Whether it’s a month from now or a year from now, or however long it takes.”

The FBI and SBI are also assisting in the search to find the missing girl.

Her husband and Madalina’s stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, was also arrested in December and charged with failing to report her disappearance.

Madalina was last seen by the public getting off of a school bus just before Thanksgiving. She wasn’t reported missing until weeks later.

The town of Cornelius recently honored Madalina’s 12th birthday with a vigil.

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

Anyone with information about Madalina is asked to call the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773, or the FBI at 1-800-Call FBI.

Previous Coverage: Madalina Cojocari’s mom asked relative to ‘smuggle’ them away from home