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Police release video showing last known time missing 11-year-old N.C. girl was seen

Madalina Cojocari was last seen Nov. 21, but her mother and stepfather didn't report her missing until Thursday.

Police in North Carolina have released video showing the last known time missing 11-year-old girl Madalina Cojocari was seen, getting off her school bus. 

The video shows Madalina, a sixth grader, getting off at her stop at 4:59 p.m. Nov. 21, which police in Cornelius, about 20 miles north of Charlotte, say is “the last time we have independent confirmation of when she was last seen.”

In the video, Madalina wears a gray T-shirt with her hair in a ponytail. The black straps of a backpack are visible. 

Madalina Cojocari, 11, last seen on Nov. 21 getting off her school bus in Cornelius, N.C.
Madalina Cojocari, 11, last seen on Nov. 21 getting off her school bus in Cornelius, N.C. Cornelius Police Department

Officials have said Madalina's mother and stepfather told detectives they last saw her on Nov. 23, but now authorities are seeking additional witnesses outside of the family to pinpoint the exact timeline of her disappearance. 

Police learned that the girl had vanished when her mother, Diana Cojocari, reported her missing to Bailey Middle School on Thursday, and an investigation was launched.

The report came after school employees contacted the mother “on several occasions” to ask why Madalina was absent. 

Diana Cojocari, 37, and Madalina's stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, 60, were arrested Saturday and charged with failing to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement, as three weeks had passed before anyone else knew she was missing.

Both remain in custody at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center. Attorney information for the pair was not immediately available.

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

Police said Monday that the search has expanded outside the area of Madalina's home and that it includes Lake Cornelius, with officials conducting land and water searches as a precautionary measure. 

Madalina 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.