Stepdad Christopher Palmiter Is Found Guilty Of Not Reporting Madalina Cojocari Missing As Hunt Continues 18 Months On

THE stepfather of Madalina Cojocari has been found guilty of failing to report her missing as the search for the 13-year-old girl continues nearly two years later.

A jury was quick to convict Christopher Palmiter, 61, after deliberating for approximately 14 minutes on Friday.

Christopher Palmiter was found guilty of failing to report a child missing

Christopher Palmiter was found guilty of failing to report a child missingCredit: WSOC

Madalina Cojocari was last seen exiting a school bus on November 21, 2022

Madalina Cojocari was last seen exiting a school bus on November 21, 2022Credit: WCNC Charlotte

Madalina turned 13 on May 16

Madalina turned 13 on May 16Credit: Meck Sheriff

Diana Cojocari (middle), Madalina's mom, pleaded guilty to the same charges on May 20 and was released from prison

Diana Cojocari (middle), Madalina’s mom, pleaded guilty to the same charges on May 20 and was released from prisonCredit: WCNCPalmiter was sentenced to 6-17 months in prison, but his penalty was suspended because he had previously spent 244 days behind bars before being released on $25,000 bond in August 2023.

Instead, a judge sentenced him to 30 months of supervised probation.

Madalina Cojocari, who turned 13 on May 16, was last seen on surveillance footage exiting a school bus on November 21, 2022, in suburban Cornelius, North Carolina, about 15 miles north of Charlotte.

Palmiter and Madalina’s mother, Diana Cojocari, waited 21 days to report her missing on December 12, 2022.

Read more in The U.S. Sun

The couple only filed a police report after Madalina’s school sent a guidance counselor to her house to find out why the sixth grader had not attended classes.

Diana Cojocari pleaded guilty to the same charges on May 20 and was allowed to walk free from jail after spending the maximum time under the charge while she awaited trial.

Cojocari, 37, who is originally from Moldova, is facing deportation as she’s not a US citizen.

‘SPIRITUAL RITUALS’

Palmiter took the stand during his trial and opened up about his relationship with Cojocari and his role in Madalina’s life.

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The stepdad said Madalina’s mom was “100 percent in charge” of the girl’s education.

“I’d go to work, and Diana would make sure Madalina got up in time for school. She would make sure Madalina took a bath before she went to bed at night,” he told the jury.

New evidence in missing Madalina Cojocari case as mom ‘discussed fleeing’ US in texts & calls with cousin before arrest

Palmiter told the court that during his eight-year marriage to Cojocari, he noticed she began incorporating spiritual rituals into their daily lives.

He said Cojocari would chant around the house and often prayed loudly and rapidly.

“There were certain rituals that she would do,” Palmiter recalled.

“She always said that she was fighting demons.”

The stepdad said he believed Cojocari’s spiritual interests impacted her relationship with her daughter.

“Diana would be doing her prayers and stuff. Madalina would always ask me to play with her,” Palmiter told jurors.

“I’d take her for bike rides, play games with her, take her down to the park.”

Palmiter maintained that he did not know Madalina was missing until a school official knocked on their door asking about the child’s whereabouts.

However, Prosecutors argued that Palmiter knew Madalina was missing, unearthing texts, emails, and calls found on his mobile phone.

“He was the person in the role of supervising her, and he failed. That’s why he’s sitting in this seat,” prosecutor Austin Butler said during closing arguments.

Meanwhile, Palmiter’s defense attorney placed the blame on Madalina’s mom, saying Cojocari manipulated her husband, and he believed her when she told him her daughter was safe.

The defense argued that Palmiter believed Cojocari had a plan to hide Madalina to protect her.Read More on The US Sun

Yet, there is no evidence to support Palmiter’s claims.

Madalina has yet to be found 18 months after her disappearance.

The last video showing Madalina Cojocari was captured on a school bus surveillance camera in November 2019

The last video showing Madalina Cojocari was captured on a school bus surveillance camera in November 2019Credit: FBI Charlotte

Christopher Palmiter testified how he met Diana Cojocari through an online dating website called GlobalLadies in 2008

Christopher Palmiter testified how he met Diana Cojocari through an online dating website called GlobalLadies in 2008Credit: WCNC Charlotte

Palmiter and Cojocari married in 2016, the stepfather told the court

Palmiter and Cojocari married in 2016, the stepfather told the courtCredit: WCNC Charlotte

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