Mother and stepfather of missing 11-year-old North Carolina girl arrested

Police in North Carolina arrested the mother and stepfather of a missing 11-year-old girl as investigators expand the search across land and water.

On Saturday, the Cornelius Police Department announced the arrest of Diana Cojocari, 37, and Christopher Palmiter, 60, for failure to report the disappearance of their 11-year-old daughter Madalina Cojocari.

According to police, Madalina was last seen in her Cornelius, North Carolina, home on Nov. 23 but was not reported missing until Dec. 15.

On Monday, police said they were working with the FBI and the state bureau of investigation to follow their “many leads” in the case, sharing photos of search efforts at a local lake.

“As part of the normal investigative process, we are expanding our search area outside of the home where Madalina was last seen and that now includes Lake Cornelius,” police said. “We are conducting additional land and water searches as a precautionary measure. There’s nothing we won’t do to #FindMadalina”

The sixth grader was last seen wearing jeans, pink, purple and white Adidas shoes, and a white t-shirt and jacket, police said.

The young girl is described as being 4’10” tall, weighing 90 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, police said.

Police have shared photos of Madalina, writing that she loves horses and eating ice cream.

Police said the search is an active investigation and asked anyone with any information to contact the Cornelius Police Department.

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