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Mother, stepfather arrested as FBI, police search for missing 11-year-old


(CORNELIUS, N.C.) — The mother and stepfather of Madalina Cojocari, 11, who has been missing for weeks, were arrested on Saturday for allegedly failing to report her disappearance, police said.

The 11-year-old was last seen at home in Cornelius, North Carolina, about three weeks before her school was notified on Dec. 15 that she was missing, according to law enforcement officials.

“The parents of the juvenile reported the juvenile missing to the Bailey Middle School SRO where the juvenile attends school,” the Cornelius Police Department said in a statement on Friday. “The juvenile was last seen at home, on the evening of November 23, 2022, and has not been seen since.”

The FBI and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation are working with the Cornelius Police Department in the search for the missing girl.

Cojocari had been wearing “jeans, pink, purple and white Adidas shoes, and a white t-shirt and jacket” at the time of her disappearance, the FBI said.

Police said they began an investigation on Thursday after the school was notified Cojocari was missing.

Diana Cojocari, 37, and Christopher Palmiter, 60, were arrested on Saturday on the charge of Failure to Report the Disappearance of a Child to Law Enforcement, police said in two statements.

Police identified the pair as Cojocari’s mother and stepfather. Both are being held at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center, police said.

North Carolina law requires parents or guardians to report missing children to law enforcement within “a reasonable time.”

ABC News’ Victoria Arancio and Monica Camacho contributed to this report.

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