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What happens when a child goes missing? A year after Madalina Cojocari's disappearance, authorities are still searching for answers

Madalina Cocojari, missing poster
David Boraks
A poster in Cornelius seeking more information about Madalina Cocojari, the missing 11-year-old.

One year after Madalina Cojocari was last seen, there are more questions than answers about her disappearance. The chief of the Cornelius Police Department believes the 12-year-old Cornelius girl is still out there. But there are still questions about why her mother, Diana Cojocari, and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, waited to file a missing persons report weeks after she disappeared. They were both charged for failing to report Madalina missing in a timely manner.

Madalina was last seen getting off her school bus on Nov. 21, 2022. She was reported missing three weeks later on Dec. 15, 2022.


Efforts continue to find Madalina including new billboards — and new theories from family members of her whereabouts — including one that her disappearance is tied to human trafficking.

How hard is it to investigate missing children cases? How does North Carolina compare to the rest of the country? What do parents need to know if their children go missing? We ask these questions, and more, on the next Charlotte Talks.


David Baucom, Cornelius chief of police
Juanita Vargas Ibanez, case manager with Pat’s Place
Callahan Walsh, executive director of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

If you have any information concerning the whereabouts of Madalina Cojocari, please contact the Cornelius Police Department at (704) 892-7773.

You may also contact your local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or you can submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

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Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.