Parents of missing Cornelius girl violated ‘Caylee’s Law,’ prosecutors say

CORNELIUS, N.C. — Prosecutors said a statute was violated after the mother and stepfather of a missing 11-year-old Cornelius girl failed to report her disappearance.

Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter each were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday on the charge of failing to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement.

Madalina Cojocari was reported missing on Dec. 15. She was last seen by her mother on Nov. 23.


The statute prosecutors said the parents violated is Caylee’s Law.

The law was created after the case of Casey Anthony, whose two-year-old daughter, Caylee, was killed in 2008 in Florida.

The law makes it a felony when a parent or caretaker “knowingly or wantonly fails to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement.”

The law was passed in 2013, two years after the trial of Casey Anthony.

N.C. Rep. Kelly Hastings, R-Cleveland and Gaston, sponsored the bill.

“We just had so many constituents calling and concerned and asking, ‘What would the situation be in North Carolina if that happened?’” Hastings said. “And that’s when we realized when we started the research, that actually North Carolina had a loophole and didn’t have a time constraint on the reporting. And so that was a little surprising, but we clarified that and got it addressed in the statutory language.”

Billboards of Madalina are now up across the state.

The FBI said the cost for that billboard space was donated by companies that are part of the North Carolina Outdoor Advertising Association.

VIDEO: New photos released as search continues for missing Cornelius 11-year-old

Evan Donovan

Evan Donovan, wsoctv.com

Evan is an anchor and reporter for Channel 9.