Warrants reveal Madalina Cojocari’s mother floated ‘theory’ she was given away for money
Cornelius girl likely was spotted in surveillance photos Dec. 16 in Sugar Mountain.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Newly unsealed search warrants in the case of Madalina Cojocari reveal that the missing Cornelius girl likely was spotted in surveillance photos Dec. 16 in Sugar Mountain.
The recently-uncovered surveillance photos of a child and man “were physically consistent” with the missing girl and her only known blood relative, Octavian Cebanu, in the United States.
The girl, now 12, was last seen in public on Nov. 21 when she was getting off a school bus. Her mother told police she last saw her two days later, but didn’t report her missing until Dec. 15.
Madalina’s mother, Diana, and stepfather Christopher Palmiter, have both since been arrested and charged with failure to report the disappearance of a child.
The newly-unsealed records also reveal that police intentionally housed Madalina’s stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, with a confidential informant in jail and later seized his jail notebooks.
Court records also show the girl’s mother discussed a big bag of money and withdrawing cash with her mother “and a theory that Chris gave the girl away for money.”
Documents revealed a recorded phone call from Palmiter to his brother and sister-in-law, where he said Diana “had a lot of cash with her.” During the same call, Palmiter said “financial stuff” was coming up, which his brother told him “not to worry about.”
Additionally, a warrant suggested Diana had in fact seen Madalina after the Nov. 23 date that she reported. The warrant said that “in a text message on December 2, 2022, Diana Cojocari indicated she was in the presence of the missing child. On December, 4, 2022, Diana Cojocari traveled towards the NC mountains claiming to be searching.”
Despite the fact that she may have seen Madalina on Dec. 2, Diana was seen getting an oil change at a shop in Hickory, but the attendant servicing her vehicle did not report seeing the girl.
Warrants also stated that several electronics were seized, along with Google search histories, and email, cell phone, messaging and financial records. The couple’s vehicles were also searched.
During an interview on Dec. 16, one day after Madalina was reported missing, a Facebook message from Palmiter to Mary Palmiter McCreary said “we are in some kind of investigation, Madi is missing and the local police have taken all our electronics, luckily I have an old phone, although they did not take my person computer, prob cause they overlooked it, Diana is using it now to call her parents.”
It’s been nearly eight months since Madalina, now 12, was last seen walking off a school bus Nov. 21. Her mother last saw her at their Cornelius home Nov. 23, but she didn’t report her daughter missing until Dec. 15. Since then, her mother and stepfather have been charged with failure to report the disappearance of a child.
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