Cornelius police chief talks anniversary of Madalina Cojocari disappearance, ongoing investigation

It’s been one year since the disappearance of an 11-year-old girl getting off her bus stop
It’s been one year since the disappearance of an 11-year-old girl getting off her bus stop
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 2:50 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:21 PM EST
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CORNELIUS, N.C. (WBTV) - Tuesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Madalina Cojocari.

Surveillance footage from a school bus showed the 11-year-old girl getting off her bus at a bus stop on Nov. 21, 2022. Police said it was a couple of days later that she disappeared.

Cornelius Police Chief David Baucom and his detectives have been working hard to find the young girl.

“It’s heartbreaking looking back at the video. She looks so innocent getting off the school bus, going home just like any other 11-year-old kid would be doing and then three or four weeks later, that’s when our investigation began,” Baucom told WBTV in a recent interview.

Madalina wasn’t reported missing until weeks after she was seen getting off the school bus. Her mother, Diana Cojocari, and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, were both charged for failing to report Madalina missing within a timely manner.

“This is the first time that I’m aware that we’ve ever charged anyone with this, much less a parent,” Baucom told WBTV.

The police chief said he couldn’t reveal much about the investigation, but noted that his investigators have been working tirelessly to locate Madalina. He said that detectives have received hundreds of tips and have worked thousands of hours in their efforts to find the young girl.

“It is difficult because the public wants details and we just can’t share those details,” said Baucom. “We just want the public to know we’re doing everything we can to find her and we will continue to do that with all of the resources we have available to us.”

Baucom said he still believes Madalina will be found.

“It’s just a matter of time,” said Baucom. “The information is there. Someone knows something. Someone saw something and they’ve either told us and we haven’t uncovered it yet or they just haven’t shared it with us, but I believe we’re gonna find her.”

Anyone with information about Madalina Cojocari should contact the Cornelius Police Department or Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Members of the Cornelius community and Cornelius Police Department are planning to gather at Smithville Park in Cornelius Tuesday night to show support for Madalina. The event is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.