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Madalina Cojocari’s stepfather found guilty of not reporting her missing – Crime Online

A North Carolina jury took just 15 minutes Friday to return a guilty verdict on Christopher Palmiter, who was accused of reporting his stepdaughter, Madalina Cojocari, missing in late 2022.

Palmiter was sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation and ordered to pay $30,000 in attorney fees, WCNC reported.

Madalina Cojocari was 11 years old when she was last seen getting off a school bus in Cornelius on November 21, 2022, as CrimeOnline reported. But neither Palmiter nor her mother, Diana Cojocari, reported her missing for nearly a month, when Cojocari admitted to school officials that she did not know where the girl was.

Cojocari and Palmiter were both charged with failure to report, but Palmiter was released in August when his bond was reduced from $200,000 to $25,000. Cojocari remained behind bars and pleaded guilty on May 17. Shortly afterwards, she was released from prison and is expected to be deported to her native Moldova.

Christopher Palmiter and Diana Cojocari/Mecklenburg County Jail

Madalina Cojocari has not been found and both Palmiter and her mother have said they do not know where she is.

Cojocari told investigators that she did not immediately report Madalina missing because she feared Palmiter would endanger her family and that there could be “a conflict” with him. Last July, Cornelius police received photos of a girl who looked like Madalina and an unknown man in western North Carolina.

Testimony during the trial against Palmiter did not clarify the whereabouts of the now 13-year-old girl. Palmiter testified that he didn’t even know she was missing until he met with school officials in December who inquired about her absence from school, the Charlotte Observer reported. He said his wife believed “Russian entities” were watching her and wanted to marry her to acquire land she owned in Moldova.

She was subpoenaed to testify in the case but was not called to court during Palmiter’s trial, but the observer said she stayed at his Cornelius home for at least one day this week.

He explained a mysterious trip to Michigan he made in November as a visit to pick up winter clothes his wife had left there. Testimony at the trial revealed that Cojocari was immersed in the religious teachings of Elizabeth Clare Prophet and often behaved strangely at home.

But no one knew the location of the missing girl. Cornelius police and the FBI are still looking for her.

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(Featured image: Madalina Cojocari/Cornelius Police Department)

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