Madalina Cojocari's heartbroken neighbors say they won't give up hope as sweet tributes to missing girl, 12, line street | The Sun

Madalina Cojocari's heartbroken neighbors say they won't give up hope as sweet tributes to missing girl, 12, line street | The Sun

August 26, 2023

NEIGHBORS and businesses near a missing 12-year-old North Carolina girl's home are still holding out hope that she will be found.

Madalina Cojocari was last seen getting off the school bus in her Cornelius, North Carolina neighborhood – which is located about 20 miles north of Charlotte – on November 21, 2022.

Madalina's mother and stepfather – whom she lived with – waited weeks to report her missing to authorities and have maintained that they have no idea where she is, per unsealed search warrants.

Her stepfather was released from jail on bond on Friday, and her mother is still being held on $250,000 bond at a Charlotte jail.

Both were charged with Failure to Report a Child Disappearance, but have not been charged with anything related to her disappearance.


On Friday, dozens of homes in her neighborhood still had yellow ribbons tied to mailboxes.

Some of the yellow ribbons are starting to fade after being displayed for the past nine months, however, many homes have continued to leave them up in support of the missing girl.

At the front entrance of the Victoria Bay neighborhood, there is a missing juvenile flier with Madalina's photographs staked into the ground.

It's the first thing you see when you drive into the well-kept suburban neighborhood.

Police have been investigating Madalina's disappearance for nine months – and have said they still hope to bring her home.

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On Friday, a few hours before Madalina's stepfather, Palmiter, was released from jail on $25,000 bond, several neighbors told The U.S. Sun they haven't forgotten the missing 12-year-old.

A neighbor, who lives several streets away from her, confirmed to The U.S. Sun that the yellow ribbons are being displayed in the neighborhood for her.

The woman told The U.S. Sun she's been following the case since the beginning.

"I just don't want to take it down," the woman said about the yellow ribbon tied to her mailbox.

"None of it makes any sense… I'm hoping they (police) know more than they said," she added. "We're all still kind of keeping up with it all."

Another neighbor, Greg Zook – who was walking his dog a few doors down from Madalina's home – said: "It's a sad story. Tragic."

Zook has a son that is close to Madalina's age, although the young boy didn't attend school with her.

"We seen her (Madalina) around," he said. "It's a good neighborhood… It's terribly sad."

In reference to Madalina's mother, Diana Cojocari, and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter's, not guilty pleas on Thursday, Zook said: "I don't get it.

He added: "It's just crazy isn't it?"


Several area businesses in the town where Madalina lives also have put up missing juvenile fliers with Madalina's picture.

Cashion's gas station – which has two locations within a few miles of Madalina's home – is one of them.

One location has Madalina's picture taped onto a glass window in a high-traffic area of the store near the cash register.

Another has a flyer taped onto the front door, so everybody who enters and exits the gas station will see it.


The missing girl's story has national media attention resulting in multiple Find Madalina groups being created about her.

Some of the groups have several thousand members.

In one public group, Madalina Cojocari North Carolina TCR, Stephanie St Clair has said that her son got off the school bus with Madalina on November 21, 2022 – the day of her last confirmed sighting, per police.

"My son was walking behind her from the bus stop the last day she was seen and watched her go in her house, so he also provided multiple statements to LEOs. He’s incredibly upset over this," St Clair said in the group.


St Clair also said she went to Diana's home the day a large bonfire was reportedly seen in the family's backyard torching couch cushions and furniture, prior to her disappearance being reported to police.

"Regarding the fire, I went to the house that day and Diana told me it was ok. At the time, I was worried it was unattended and our homes would burn up, so didn’t think about it again until I spoke with LEOs," she wrote.

"Another neighbor called the fire department," she added.

St Clair said she has purchased a lot of signs in honor of the missing girl.

"I bought lots of signs and they were available for everyone to take. As a neighborhood, we decided to get the signs posted in areas outside of our neighborhood since we all know very well what happened. I saw one in Denver and I know some are in SC," she said.

"Another neighbor printed lots of flyers and we all distributed them as far and wide as possible.

"Lots of homes have yellow ribbons. I had a hot pink sign on my door up until last week. I took it down because it was starting to fall apart."

She also wrote: "There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t search the news for updates."

Dozens of people posted in various Find Madalina groups looking for updates on the case after the parents' hearing on Thursday.

"Please find this little one! I pray something happens soon," one person wrote in the Where is Madalina Cojocari Facebook group.

"Where is Madalina? Justice for Madalina," another person said.

"Praying for you Madi," wrote another person in the Find Madalina Cojocari group.

"I've been following her case from day 1 and I haven't stopped thinking about her praying she's gonna be found and saved. Not giving up hope!" said another person.


Diana has claimed that the last time she saw Madalina was on November 23, 2023, after she put her to bed, per unsealed search warrants obtained by The U.S. Sun.

When she went into Madalina's bedroom to check on her the next day, she was gone, Diana has alleged.

She didn't call authorities the day she first noticed Madalina was gone – or for several weeks after she noticed she was missing.

It wasn't until the mother and stepfather were contacted by a school resource officer at Madalina's school about absences that the parents were prompted to report her missing, according to the prosecuting attorney at Palmiter's hearing on Thursday.

During Palmiter's plea hearing on Thursday, the prosecuting attorney told the judge it's laughable to think that Palmiter didn't realize Madalina was missing for several weeks.

Palmiter has told police that he didn't see Madalina for about a week prior to the November 23 date that Diana has claimed she last saw her.

The couple has been charged with Failing to Report a Child Disappearance, and the FBI is continuing to help the Cornelius Police Department try to find her.

Anyone who can help police locate Madalina Cojocari is urged to call the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773.

You can also contact your local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or submit a tip online at

In a previous article, the Cornelius Police Department told The U.S. Sun:"We want to encourage the public to continue to share her picture. We are looking for anyone who may have information on where Madalina is to call us at 704-892-7773.

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“It is still very important to us that her name is shared so we can find her and bring her home," a spokesman said.

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