Although she hasn’t been seen since last November, police in the North Carolina town of Cornelius have yet to give up on the search for missing 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari.
Last Tuesday, Cornelius Police Chief David Baucom asserted at a public event that Madalina’s disappearance was “not a cold case,” according to local outlet WSOC.
“We have detectives working this case every single day,” he said. “We just can’t talk about it. Just because we’re not talking about it, doesn’t mean we’re not doing anything.”
The girl was last seen publicly stepping off her school bus at 4:59 p.m. on Nov. 21 of 2022 in footage obtained by the department. Madalina’s mother, Diana Cojocari, said she last saw her daughter when she went to bed on Nov. 23, according to police, but the mom did not report the girl missing until Dec. 15.
Several days earlier, on Dec. 12, a counselor and resource officer from Bailey Middle School got no answer when making a welfare check at the home of the girl, who hadn’t attended school since Nov. 21.
The girl’s mother and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, were indicted by a grand jury in January for failing to report the girl’s disappearance to law enforcement. Now, arrest warrants obtained by WCNC indicate that police are pursuing leads related to drug and human trafficking.
Search warrants carried out on the parents’ home and vehicle in mid-February indicated that drug trafficking may be involved in the girl’s disappearance, according to the outlet.
A drug-sniffing dog reportedly “alerted on the driver’s side door” of Diana Cojocari’s Toyota Prius on Feb. 13.
After her daughter was last seen and before reporting the girl’s disappearance, police believe Diana may have taken a trip to Madison County, North Carolina in that Prius, and are still seeking out anyone who may have seen the woman or her vehicle between Nov. 22 and Dec. 15.