The mother of the missing 11-year-old girl told police she did not report her disappearance for nearly three weeks, fearing how her husband, the girl’s stepfather, would react to the news.
Madalina Kojokari was last seen on November 21 and stepped off the school bus on November 23, her mother Diana Kojokari said.
On the day she disappeared, Kojokari, 37, got into an argument with her husband, Christopher Parmiter, 60, who angrily drove to Michigan that night.
Three days later, on November 26, Palmiter returned to his home in North Carolina, and Kojokari told him that a girl was missing from his home in Cornelius, a town just north of Charlotte.
Madalina Kojokari’s mother says she last saw her on November 23rd. This was three weeks before she reported her missing to the school.
Madalina’s mother Diana Kojokari, left, 36, and stepfather Christopher Palmiter, 60, were arrested Dec. 17. Traveling to Michigan Nov. 24
However, fearing Palmitar’s reaction, she did not report the girl’s disappearance until December 15, nearly three weeks later.
Police investigating the incident pointed out that the kitchen in the family’s home had been blocked with plywood, Queen City News reported.
Parmiter told police the last time he saw Madalina was a week before she disappeared.
Kojokari said Madalina’s backpack and some of her clothes were missing from the house.
She told police that the girl had no friends to hang out with and, being from Moldova, had no family in the area.
Kojokari added that she had contacted her family in Moldova and was advised to go to the police, but she resisted their pleas.
It is unknown how long Kojokari and her daughter have lived in the United States and when they married Parmitar.
Both Kojokari and Parmitah were arrested and charged with failing to report the missing child.
The FBI is currently leading the search, and a spokesperson said there was “nothing we wouldn’t do to find her.”
On Tuesday, the FBI, working with Cornelius Police, began a search of a nearby lake.
Police say Madalina was last seen getting off the school bus at her stop on November 21.
“As part of our normal investigation process, we are expanding the search area outside the home where Madalina was last seen, which now includes Lake Cornelius,” police said on Tuesday.
A court official said in her first court appearance on Tuesday that Kojokari had so far “obstructed the investigation.”
They said she only “reluctantly” reported her daughter’s disappearance to police.
In the weeks that followed, she received numerous calls from her school, but no one was notified that Madalina had gone missing.
On December 12, the school resource officer from Bailey Middle School visited Kojokari’s home with a counselor.
There was no answer at the door so they left a “truancy packet”.
On December 14, Kojokari called the school counselor and told him he would bring Madalina to school the next day.
At that meeting, Kojokari told the resource officer that Madalina had actually been missing for weeks and was last seen entering her room to sleep around 10 p.m. on November 23.
Kajokari also told school officials that she and her husband had an argument that night and drove to her parents’ house in Michigan to retrieve her belongings.
At 11:30 am on November 24, Kojakari went to check on Madalina and found that she was no longer in her bedroom.
When Parmitah returned at 7:00 pm on November 26, Kojakari said he asked police if he knew where Madalina was, but he said he did not.
At 11:30 a.m. on November 24, Diana Kojakari checked on Madalina and claimed she was not in her bedroom.
“As part of the normal investigation process, we are expanding the search area outside the home where Madalina was last seen, and now includes Lake Cornelius,” police said Tuesday.
Investigators searched Madalina’s parents’ home, and her mother claims to have seen her sleeping for the last time.
Investigators were seen digging up the front yard of her home, but did not disclose if anything of interest was found.
After being arrested on December 17, the two were held in the Mecklenburg County Detention Center.
Police searched their home thoroughly and were seen digging the front yard with a shovel. It’s not clear if they found anything interesting.
His stepfather, Palmiter, who works as a machine designer for a machine manufacturer, is being held on $100,000 bail.
On Tuesday, Diana Cojocari’s bond was set at $250,000, with the condition that if she pays the bond, she will be placed under electronic surveillance.
Madalina is 4 feet 10 inches tall, has dark brown hair, and weighs about 90 pounds.
She was last seen wearing jeans, pink, purple and white Adidas shoes, a white T-shirt and jacket.
Anyone with information should call the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773.