Madalina Cojocari’s parents have already been arrested in her disappearance, after they failed to report her missing for weeks.
As the ongoing search for 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari continues, authorities have released a “personal, handwritten message” from the child’s “extended family,” pleading with the public for help and thanking everyone for all they’ve done so far.
The FBI and local police both posted the two-page note to social media on Thursday, asking followers to “please read it and put yourself in their shoes.” It’s unclear who exactly wrote the letter.
“We, as a family, are devastated and absolutely heartbroken to learn that Madalina is missing. We love Madalina and are shocked by these circumstances,” reads the note. “This is something no child or family should ever have to endure. Our family is doing everything we know to do to support the efforts to find Madalina and bring her home. We are and continue to have Hope and positivity in this difficult time and pray that she is found safe and very soon.”
After sharing their appreciation for all the authorities and “online communities” which have shared missing fliers, given support, held vigils and those who are “doing everything possible to find and bring Madalina safely home,” the family described the child while asking for those efforts to continue.
“Madalina is a beautiful, smart, kind and loving 11 year old girl with greatness in her future. We are desperate to find her right now, she needs ALL of our help,” they continued. “We ask for you continued, postitive support in sharing far and wide the posters and pictures of Madalina. Each and every share maybe one step closer to finding her.”
“If you believe you have seen Madalina or have Any information related to her whereabouts, please contact your local law enforcement agency or the Cornelius NC police department and come forward with this information. Anything may help,” they wrote, before concluding, “Our family would like to express sincere gratitude to each and everyone of you for your support. Our family will continue to do everything we know and learn to do for Madalina’s safe return home. Blessings.”
The letter comes after authorities released the last known video of Madalina on Tuesday.
The footage was taken as she got off the school bus on November 21, around 5pm. The FBI shared the video, adding that they are “seeking additional witnesses outside of the family to narrow down the exact timeline of when she disappeared.”
The child’s parents previously told authorities they last saw her at home on the evening of November 23. The investigation into Cojocari’s disappearance didn’t begin until December 15th, however, after employees at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School reached out to the girl’s mother Diana “on several occasions to inquire” about her being absent. Diana eventually went to the school on the 15th and reported to the School Resource Officer that her daughter was missing.
On December 17, both the girl’s mother, 37-year-old Diana Cojocari, and her stepfather, 60-year-old Christopher Palmiter, were arrested for Failure to Report the Disappearance of a Child to Law Enforcement.
According to an arrest sheet (via Law&Crime), Diana said her daughter went to her room on November 23 to go to bed, before she got into an argument with Christopher that same evening. Palmiter allegedly then drove to Michigan to pick up items from family … and around 11:30am the next day, Thanksgiving, Cojocari went to check on her daughter and she was gone. She said she waited until November 26, when her husband came home, to ask him if he knew where Madalina was. “Christopher stated he did not and asked the same question in return,” notes the sheet.
She claimed she waited to report the disappearance because “was worried it might start a ‘conflict’ between her and Christopher.” He, meanwhile, allegedly told police he did not see Madalina the day he left for Michigan — and claimed the last time he saw her was a week before his trip. He said they both asked the other if they had “hidden” the child, but both denied it.
Both Palmiter and Cojocari appeared in court this week, with the state saying Diana “hindered the investigation” and claiming she reported her daughter missing “begrudgingly.”
Madalina is described as a white, 11-year-old female weighing approximately 90 pounds. She was last seen wearing jeans, pink, purple and white Adidas shoes, and a white t-shirt and jacket. Anyone with information is asked to call the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773 or 1-800-Call FBI.