The Mysterious 2022 Disappearance Of 11-Year-Old Madalina Cojocari

Madalina Cojocari, a sixth-grader from Cornelius North Carolina disappeared in 2022, in a shocking case that seems to have involved her own family. Cojocari's mother and stepfather took three weeks to report the young girl missing — raising suspicions with the police.

Cojocari was recorded on CCTV getting off a school bus outside her own home in Cornelius, on November 21st, 2022, and her parents claim they last saw her on November 23rd. However, they did not report the girl missing until December 15th, when they told the resource officer at Cojocari's middle school that she had vanished. According to Inside Edition, Cojocari was spotted again in surveillance photos taken on December 16th, traveling with a blood relative, Octavian Gebanu. The FBI is still asking for tips about Cojocari, who turned 12 in April 2023, and has brown hair and eyes and was last seen wearing jeans, a white shirt, a jacket, and pink, purple, and white Adidas shoes.

Cojocari's mother, Diana Cojocari, 37, and her stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, 60, were both arrested on December 17th for failing to report the girl missing. It is believed that Palmiter may have sold the young girl for money, based on evidence from a phone conversation, and a confession from the girl's grandmother.

Cojocari's parents arrested

As soon as the police got involved in the case, Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter were both sent to the Mecklenburg detention center, and their cell phones were confiscated along with other items. During the course of the investigation, detectives have hit upon multiple clues that potentially implicate both parents in a number of ways. A text on Cojocari's phone, for example, seems to have revealed that she was most likely with her daughter on December 2nd, 10 days after her daughter allegedly disappeared.

While the pair were locked up, the couple also had several suspicious phone conversations that alerted the police to the family's potential involvement in the case. Over the jail phone, Palmiter told his brother and sister-in-law that his wife had mysteriously acquired a large amount of cash from an unknown source. He also mentioned upcoming financial issues. Cojocari's mother and grandmother also had a conversation in which they discussed "a bag of money" and the pair speculated as to whether Palmiter had sold the young girl for cash.

Was Cojocari sold to traffickers?

In August 2023, Madalina Cojocari's grandmother, Rodica Cojocari came forward with a number of horrifying accusations, telling reporters at WCNC that stepfather Christopher Palmiter sold the young girl to traffickers for $5 million dollars. Rodica went on to say that Palmiter was an abuser who regularly drugged both the girl and her mother by spiking their juice with drugs. She added that the girl was likely kidnapped while both were passed out.

Rodica described an abusive relationship between Diana Cojocari and her husband (pictured), alleging that both she and her daughter were kept as hostages in their own home and that the relationship began through stalking activity. She claims Diana Cojocari is aware her daughter is alive but was silenced with death threats from her husband. According to the Charlotte Observer, court documents seem to confirm that the couple were potentially at odds and had a troubled relationship. Diana Cojocari was supposedly planning to flee along with her daughter and file for divorce.

The Sheriff's Office records show that Palmiter was released on August 18, 2023, after paying his $25,000 bond. As shocking as the accusations against Palmiter are, they are sadly not unusual. According to the UN's International Organization for Migration, family members are involved in "nearly half" of child trafficking cases worldwide.