North Carolina parents live carefree life after not reporting disappearance of daughter still missing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A North Carolina couple recently found guilty of failing to report their daughter missing in 2022 has gone back to their day-to-day lives in Cornelius, a lake town north of Charlotte.

Christopher Palmiter and Diana Cojocari were recently released following their sentencings in connection with the November 2022 disappearance of 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari, leaving locals feeling unnerved.

“It seems to me with everything we see online that everybody’s bothered about it, but nobody’s really saying or doing anything,” a woman named Jennifer of Huntersville, a town directly south of Cornelius, told Fox News Digital. Jennifer frequently visits a friend in Cornelius who happens to live in the same neighborhood as Palmiter and Diana Cojocari.

“Her porch is so close to the road. So, I stopped in front and… yelled out of the window, ‘Bring her home!’” Jennifer said. “She didn’t look up.”

MISSING NORTH CAROLINA GIRL’S STEPFATHER CONVICTED OF FAILING TO REPORT CHILD’S DISAPPEARANCE

Cornelius residents are on edge as Diana Cojocari walks around her neighborhood after her prison release with her daughter still missing since 2022. (Handout)

A local said she feels “creeped out” seeing Diana Cojocari lounging by her community pool in Cornelius. (Handout)

Jennifer noted that their front yard is overgrown, and the front porch is cluttered with different items, making her wonder if the HOA has fined them yet.

Mecklenburg County records show that Palmiter filed for divorce from Diana on Monday, saying they have been separated since around the time Madalina went missing. Locals say they have seen the couple together at home after they were both released from prison.

NORTH CAROLINA GIRL MADALINA COJOCARI MISSING FOR ONE YEAR: ‘NOT GOING TO STOP UNTIL WE FIND HER’

A local noted that Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter’s front yard is overgrown, and the front porch is cluttered with different items. (Handout)

Residents have also seen Diana at the neighborhood pool and walking downtown, where posters of Madalina are still strung up around Catawba Avenue.

“I noticed at the pool, parents going to the bathroom with their kids, where you would normally say, ‘Just go to the bathroom,’ and I found that disturbing. I thought, if I were here with my little kids, and she were here – first of all, I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut. Second of all, I’d be weirded out.… It’s all so creepy.”

MADALINA COJOCARI: NORTH CAROLINA POLICE RELEASE NEW PHOTO OF 11-YEAR-OLD MISSING SINCE NOVEMBER

Residents have seen Diana at the neighborhood pool and walking downtown, where posters of Madalina are still strung up around Catawba Avenue. (Handout)

Madalina was last seen getting off a school bus in her hometown of Cornelius, just north of Charlotte, on Nov. 21, 2022, when she was 11 years old. Authorities have been unable to locate her since.

A Mecklenburg County jury found Palmiter guilty of failure to report a missing child to law enforcement on May 31 after a weeklong trial, according to FOX 8 Greensboro.

Madalina Cojocari of Cornelius, North Carolina, was last seen in November 2022. (Cornelius Police Department)

Her mother, Diana Cojocari, pleaded guilty last month to the same charge as Palmiter. Diana, a Moldova native, and Pamliter did not report the 11-year-old girl missing to police until weeks later on Dec. 15, 2022, despite telling police the last time they saw their daughter was at home the evening of Nov. 23, 2022.

The Mecklenburg County judge sentenced Palmiter to serve a suspended 30-month supervised probation, FOX 8 reported. Palmiter’s lawyer did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News Digital.

MISSING NORTH CAROLINA GIRL’S MOTHER WANTED TO SMUGGLE 11-YEAR-OLD FROM HOME: WARRANT

Madalina Cojocari was last seen in Cornelius, North Carolina, on Nov. 21, 2022. (Google Maps/ Charlotte FBI)

Public defenders changed Diana’s plea to guilty on May 20, and she was sentenced to up to 17 months in prison. Due to her time already served, however, she was released. Her public defender also did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News Digital.

Palmiter’s defense attorneys argued that Diana manipulated him and made him believe his stepdaughter was safe at the time of her disappearance. Prosecutors, however, included testimony from an FBI analyst, who presented phone and email evidence that suggested Palmiter knew Madalina was missing yet did not report her disappearance to authorities, according to FOX 8.

“I think Diana took her somewhere with her Moldovan family,” Palmiter testified during his trial, FOX 8 reported. “I believe Diana has tucked her away somewhere where she’s not going to be found.”

In December, authorities arrested and charged the 11-year-old’s parents, Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter, with failure to report a missing child after Madalina’s disappearance in November 2022. (Mecklenburg County Detention Center)

Locals have hope that Madalina is still alive, somewhere.

GET REAL TIME UPDATES DIRECTLY ON THE TRUE CRIME HUB

Soon after reporting Madalina missing last year, her parents penned a handwritten note expressing their concern for her, which the CPD shared with the public on Dec. 22.

Investigators shared a handwritten, personal message from the family of Madalina Cojocari. (FBI Charlotte/Cornelius Police Department)

“Our family is doing everything we know to do to support the efforts to find Madalina and bring her home,” the letter reads, in part. “We are and continue to have hope and positivity in this difficult time and pray that she is found safe very soon. We know and greatly appreciate that the local, state, national and online communities have come together to share fliers, offer positive, hold prayer vigils, support law enforcement, and are doing everything possible to find and bring Madalina safely home.”

Authorities are asking anyone with information about Madalina’s whereabouts to contact the CPD at 704-892-7773.

Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for Fox News Digital and FOX Business. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter at @audpants.

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