Search warrants show what investigators are looking for in Madalina Cojocari case

CORNELIUS, N.C. — Newly unsealed search warrants in the case of a missing 11-year-old Cornelius girl have shed more light on what investigators are looking for in the case.

According to the documents obtained Tuesday by Channel 9, investigators went to the home of Madalina Cojocari on Dec. 15. with a search warrant looking for any potential evidence that could be associated with her disappearance. They seized three iPhones and 11 other items items from the home, according to the documents.

Then later, on Dec. 21, Channel 9 was at the home as police seized more items.

Information about was taken from the home on both dates was redacted from the warrants, but it appears investigators took nearly 40 pieces of evidence.


Then, investigators said they seized four more items in a separate search between Dec. 16 and Dec. 30.

According to the documents, police are looking for any evidence consistent with a missing person, including receipts and tickets. Police were also looking for biological evidence, including signs of blood or items that could have been used as a weapon.

C. Melissa Owen is a criminal defense attorney. She’s not involved in this case, but explains what the warrants can tell us.

“Gives insight into where they may find information as to what crime was committed, who would have committed the crime and ultimately where this young girl may be,” Owen said.

It’s unclear who the three phones belonged to, but Madalina’s mother, Diana Cojocari, previously told police Madalina didn’t have a phone.

The warrants also allowed investigators to get cell tower data for both of the parents’ phones from the beginning of November through mid-December -- likely to figure out their whereabouts before and after Madalina’s disappearance.

Investigators likely also looked at emails, credit card purchases, and banking information.

According to two of the search warrants, investigators also looked for anything that “constitutes evidence of a crime and the identity of a person participating in a crime ‘Kidnapping.’”

Neither Diana Cojocari nor Christopher Palmiter have been charged with kidnapping. Both are charged with failing to report the disappearance of a child.

“Does this mean they’re investigating this now as much of a kidnapping case as well as missing person case?” Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz asked Owen.

“I think that’s likely and honestly, I think that kidnapping would be very likely considered,” Owen said.

Last week, law enforcement sources said they came in contact with Diana Cojocari in a rural part of Madison County. A deputy found Cojocari at a pull-off area on U.S. Highway 25 near Lonesome Mountain Road, sources said.

Agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation returned to Madison County Tuesday to look for surveillance footage in the expanded search for the missing girl.

Madalina Cojocari was reported missing on Dec. 15 -- 22 days after her parents said they last saw her.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: Find Madalina: Police ask anyone who saw mom, car in Madison County to come forward)