Madalina Cojocari's family lit fire to torch couch cushions and other items days after her disappearance
CORNELIUS, NORTH CAROLINA: Madalina Cojocari's family was reportedly seen lighting a fire and torching couch cushions and other items that burned for days in their backyard. This occurred soon after the days she disappeared but before she was reported missing.
According to Daily Mail, neighbors have reported that they have seen flames and smoke from the yard of the Victoria Bay Drive home in late November. They also prompted calls to the police and the fire department in Cornelius.
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Though Cornelius Fire Chief Guerry Barbee confirmed the flames, he did not give any inner details of the same. He stated, "I can't speak on that now because of the investigation," reported the outlet. It still remains chaotic why the girl's mother, Diana Cojocari, reported her daughter missing only two weeks after the fire.
The police, along with the FBI, arranged a search inside the home. A neighbor who witnessed the search told Daily Mail, "They took all kinds of samples from the fire pit area." He said. "I guess they were trying to figure out if they burned anything of substance there. It's a gross feeling to know something like this happened in your neighborhood. It's very suspicious that the mother didn't report the girl missing for two weeks."
Meanwhile, another neighbor opined, "If you don't know the context that a girl was missing, it's kind of a nothing burger of a call. At the time, it was more of a fire safety or a permit type of issue." According to reports, Madalina was last seen on November 21 getting off a school bus and was unseen since November 23. Her mother Diana, 37, and stepdad Christopher Palmiter, 60, were arrested and charged with failure to report a missing child.
On the day of Madalina's disappearance, Diana had argued with her husband. The 60-year-old was angry and left for Michigan. However, when he returned home on November 26, Diana informed him about the child missing. However, they took almost 3 weeks to report the child missing.
The Police Department claimed on Tuesday, December 20, "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."
Diana's first court appearance on Tuesday, December 20 had "hindered the investigation " It is also reported that a school resource officer at Bailey Middle School went to the Cojocari home with a counselor. However, it was a futile attempt.
On December 14, her mother claimed that the resource officer that Madalina had been missing for weeks and was last seen entering her room to go to bed at around 10 pm on November 23. She also added on November 24, she went to check on her daughter, and she was no longer in her bedroom. When Christopher returned at 7 pm on November 26, Diana told police that she asked if he knew where Madalina was and that he told her he did not.
Meanwhile, the police carried out an extensive search of their home and were seen digging up the front yard with shovels. It is unclear till today what were the findings from the search. The stepfather also works as a mechanical designer at a machinery manufacturer. He is being held on a $100,000 bond. On Tuesday, Diana's bond was set at $250,000, and a condition was set that if she makes the bond, she would be placed under electronic monitoring