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Mother and stepfather of missing 11-year-old North Carolina girl are arrested

Madalina Cojocari was last seen at her home in Cornelius on Nov. 23, but her mother and stepfather waited three weeks to report her missing to her school, police said.

The mother and stepfather of a missing 11-year-old North Carolina girl have been arrested, accused of failing to report her disappearance to authorities, officials announced. 

Madalina Cojocari was last seen at her home in Cornelius the evening of Nov. 23 and hasn’t been seen since, said police in Cornelius, about 20 miles north of Charlotte. 

But police weren't aware that Madalina, a sixth grader, was missing until nearly three weeks later, on Dec. 15, when her parents reported her missing to her school, Bailey Middle School. An investigation was launched that day.

11-year-old Madalina Cojocari.
Madalina Cojocari.via Cornelius Police Department

Police announced Saturday that Madalina's mother, Diana Cojocari, 37, and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, 60, were arrested and charged with failure to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement.

Both were booked into Mecklenburg County Detention Center, where they remained Monday.

Attorney information for the pair was not immediately available.

Police said they are looking for Madalina and are seeking to speak with anyone with information about her and her whereabouts.

“We need to make certain we have spoken to every person who may have information about Madalina to help us create an exact timeline of when she was last seen," police said.

The FBI and the State Bureau of Investigation are aiding in the search.

Madalina, described as a fan of horses, was last seen wearing jeans; pink, purple and white Adidas shoes; and a white T-shirt and jacket, police said.

She is described as 4 feet, 10 inches tall, with brown hair and brown eyes, and weighing 90 pounds. 

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773.