Madalina Cojocari’s mom leaves jail after failing to report daughter missing

CHARLOTTE — On Monday, the mother of missing Cornelius girl Madalina Cojocari pleaded guilty in connection with her daughter’s disappearance.

Diana Cojocari was released from jail Tuesday afternoon. She told Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz she hopes her daughter is OK.

WATCH video of her leaving jail below:

“Is Madalina safe right now?” Goetz asked.

“I hope so,” Cojocari said.

“You hope, you know where she is?” Goetz asked.

“I hope she is safe,” Cojocari said.

She spoke to Goetz before heading over to the public defender’s office across from the jail. It was the first time she’s talked on camera outside of court.

It’s a case that has captivated and intrigued the world. Cojocari’s daughter Madalina, who disappeared at age 11 in November 2022, has yet to be found.


Diana Cojocari and her husband, Christopher Palmiter, were charged with felony failure to report a missing child.

Diana Cojocari pleaded guilty to the charge on Monday in a courtroom that did not allow cameras. She answered all of the judge’s questions with one word, either yes or no.

Diana Cojocari’s plea was not part of a deal, and she has already spent the maximum amount of time in jail for this charge.

She was sentenced Monday to six to 17 months in prison, but because she has 520 days of time served, the judge said she will go free “shortly.”

The judge said it’s highly likely Diana Cojocari will face deportation back to Moldova since she’s in the United States on a green card.

Moldova does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S., meaning if she is either deported or goes on her own, it would be very difficult to get her back to the U.S. if more charges were filed.

Cornelius Police Chief David Baucom was in the courtroom Monday and spoke to reporters after the hearing.

“We are just thankful this part of the investigation is behind us, and the search for Madalina continues, and as I’ve said many times before, we won’t stop until we find her,” he said.

Palmiter is expected to be in court Wednesday for jury selection for a jury trial. He has pleaded not guilty to his charge.

Early on in this investigation, Channel 9 reported that when detectives asked Diana Cojocari why she did not report her daughter missing, they say she told them she was worried it might start a “conflict” between her and her husband.

Diana Cojocari was initially scheduled to be arraigned in February, but according to the judge in the courtroom, she chose not to attend the arraignment.

(WATCH BELOW: 515 days after Madalina Cojocari’s disappearance, her stepfather pleads not guilty)

Eli Brand

Eli Brand, wsoctv.com

Eli is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.

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