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One Year Later: Cops Continue Search for North Carolina Girl Who Went Missing After Getting Off School Bus

missing girl
Source: FBI

Nov. 27 2023, Published 12:01 p.m. ET

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It's been over a year since a North Carolina girl went missing after school, and investigators are still attempting to determine what happened to her.

"It's hard to believe that a year has already passed since she was last seen getting off the school bus," Cornelius Police Chief David Baucom told Fox News Digital. "And … in just a few short weeks is the anniversary of when our investigation actually began."

According to authorities, Diana Cojocari, 38, and Christopher Palmiter, 61 — the mother and stepfather of the then 11-year-old girl, Madalina Cojocari — were arrested on the morning of Dec. 17, 2022, and charged with failure to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement.

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According to the FBI, Madalina “was last seen on surveillance video getting off her school bus outside her home in Cornelius, North Carolina, on Nov. 21, 2022, and has not been seen since.”

Police said Cojocari and Palmiter allegedly waited weeks, until Dec. 15, to report Madalina missing to a school resource officer at the child’s middle school, CNN reported.

Jail records show Cojocari and Palmiter were both booked into the Mecklenburg County Detention Center. Palmiter posted bond and was released in the summer, while Cojocari remains in custody.

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“This is a serious case of a child whose parents clearly are not telling us everything they know,” Cornelius police Capt. Jennifer Thompson said at the time.

“One of the challenges in this case, simply put, we were not notified she was gone," she continued, noting that investigators have developed and followed hundreds of leads "spanning across state lines and across the globe.”

Madalina has brown hair and eyes, weighs around 90 pounds and is 4’ 10” tall. She was last seen wearing jeans, pink, purple and white Adidas shoes, and a white t-shirt and jacket.

"We're not going to stop until we find her," Chief Baucom told Fox News Digital.

Anyone with information related to the case is requested to contact the Cornelius Police Department at (704) 892-7773. Information can also be provided anonymously by calling the Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers at (704) 896-7867

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