The mother and stepfather of a missing North Carolina 11-year-old have been arrested for allegedly waiting weeks to report her disappearance.
The Cornelius Police Department announced the arrests Saturday, two days after the FBI got involved in search efforts for Madalina Cojocari. Cojocari was last seen on Nov. 23.
Her parents, Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter, didn’t report Madalina missing to her school’s resource officer until Dec. 14, almost a month after she last appeared in class, authorities said.
She was last seen at home in Cornelius, North Carolina. Both parents have been charged with failure to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement.
Local news outlet WCCB Charlotte reported that FBI agents and state investigators were seen digging in the yard of the family’s home earlier this week.
Neighbors reportedly watched the scene unfolding in disbelief.
“It’s odd that it seems like she went missing back in November, and it’s just now being reported,” a neighbor identified as Sydney Capps was quoted telling WCCB.
Cojocari was last seen wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and jacket, along with purple, pink and white Adidas shoes. Police announced Thursday that they would open an investigation into her disappearance with the FBI and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation joining in.
Both parents are being held at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center.
No further details on the investigation were immediately available.