CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – The search for missing 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari reportedly expanded in western North Carolina this week, according to local news.
On Tuesday, agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), along with Cornelius police and Madison County sheriff’s deputies, searched the area of Revere Community along Burton Cove Road in Madison County, WSOC-TV first reported.
Madison County is located about two-and-a-half hours from Cornelius, where Cojocari lived with her family on Victoria Bay Drive before she went missing between Nov. 21, 2022, and Nov. 23, 2022. Investigators are still trying to nail down a more exact timeline.
Law enforcement sources told WSOC-TV last week that a Madison County Sheriff’s Office deputy came in contact with Madalina’s mother, Diana Cojocari, on U.S. Highway 25 near Lonesome Mountain Road.
Neither SBI nor the Madison County Sheriff’s Office responded to inquiries from Fox News Digital. The Cornelius Police Department (CPD), which is investigating the 11-year-old’s disappearance, said it is not accepting interviews at this time.
“One of [Madalina’s] family members was in the Madison County area of North Carolina,” CPD wrote in a Jan. 6 Facebook post along with photos of Madalina and Diana Cojocari. “We are seeking firsthand eyewitness information from anyone who may have seen this Toyota Prius or white female in the Madison County area between the dates of November 22rd, 2022 to December 15th, 2022.”
Both Cojocari and her husband — Madalina’s stepfather, Christopher Palmiter — have been arrested and charged with failure to report a missing child to law enforcement after the 11-year-old girl’s disappearance went unreported for weeks.
They are being held on $250,000 and $200,000 bond, respectively.
Madalina’s disappearance was made known to police Dec. 15, when Cojocari told school officials and local police she last saw her daughter go to her bedroom the night of Nov. 23 around 10 p.m. after she and Palmiter got into an argument, court documents state.
Security camera footage from a Cornelius school bus shows the 11-year-old girl exiting the bus Nov. 21 around 5 p.m.
On Nov. 24, Palmiter drove to his relatives’ home in Michigan “to recover some items.” Cojocari went into her daughter’s room around 11:30 a.m. that morning to discover the 11-year-old was gone. She waited three days, until Nov. 26, when her husband returned home to Cornelius to ask if he knew where Madalina was.
Palmiter told his wife that he did not know where Madalina went and asked her “the same question in return,” according to the affidavit.
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When detectives asked Cojocari why she waited until Dec. 15 to report her daughter missing, the mother said “she was worried it might start a ‘conflict’ between her” and Palmiter.
Madalina’s family penned a handwritten note expressing their concern for the missing 11-year-old that the CPD shared with the public Dec. 22.
“Madalina is a beautiful, smart, kind and loving 11-year-old girl with greatness in her future,” the family wrote. “We are desperate to find her right now, she needs all of our help.”
The search for Madalina remains active and ongoing. The FBI is assisting CPD with its search.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about Madalina’s whereabouts to contact CPD at 704-892-7773.