CORNELIUS, NORTH CAROLINA: A new investigation into possible links to drugs and human trafficking raises the possibility that Madalina Cojocari is still alive despite being missing for more than 100 days. Madalina, 11, was last seen November 23, 2022 at her home in Cornelius, North Carolina, but it wasn’t until December 15, 2022 that she was reported missing.
Court documents claim Madalina’s mother, Diana Cojocari, discussed a ‘smuggling plot’ with a distant relative who allegedly had contact with drug traffickers, leading to an investigation on traffic. Diana, 37, reportedly sought the help of a distant relative to flee with Madalina from her husband, Christopher Palmiter, whom she intended to divorce. Court records claim the relative made “several calls to phone numbers belonging to unidentified targets involved in ongoing T3 drug/narcotics trafficking investigations”, according to The Sun. Although there is hope for Madalina’s survival, it is certainly difficult to locate a victim of human trafficking. Mr Quentin Williams, a former FBI agent, said: “It’s a needle in a haystack”, according to WCNC.
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“This is a Court Ordered Title 3 Investigation”
Phone records reveal that Diana and the relative spoke on the phone for more than two weeks after Madalina was officially reported missing, on December 2, 2022. Williams said, “This is a Court Ordered Title 3 Investigation, which allows investigators to listen in on the phone call. conversations or other conversations that might otherwise be protected by privacy laws,” according to WCNC.
Law enforcement analyst Roy Taylor said: “Now we can start looking, doing a Venn diagram of known family members and associates and friends and their involvement in drugs, that gives thus another investigative tool and gives more hope that the girl is still alive,” according to WCNC.
Why do officials think Madalina Cojocari is still alive?
Authorities believe Madalina was taken to a location close to her family and friends, increasing the likelihood that she is still alive. Taylor said: “Maybe she may have been smuggled to another area with family or friends who can keep her safe, so that’s our hope, but we just don’t know.”
Investigators conducted various searches at the family home between December 15 and 30 and discovered more than 40 items related to Madalina’s disappearance. A spokesperson for the City of Cornelius previously said finding Madalina remains a key priority for the Municipality of Cornelius and that they are working to conduct a thorough investigation, according to The Sun.
Anyone with information about Madalina’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-7773 or the North Mecklenburg Crimestoppers at 704-896-7867.