CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Authorities released new photos Friday of missing 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari.
Right before Christmas, the small, affluent lakeside town of Cornelius is devastated because Madalina has been missing more than a month.
“It’s heartbreaking, completely heartbreaking,” neighbor Erin Byrd said.
Madalina is missing.
“I’ve been crying a lot more; lately, it’s hard to sleep,” said Madalina’s friend, Cameron Stefan.
Stefan told Queen City News this week that she wants Madalina to come home.
“Her favorite animal was horses. She loved horses,” said Stefan.
Cornelius Police sent out new photos Friday of the 11-year-old playing at the beach with toy ponies and another picture of Madalina with a horse –anything to compel anyone to give them information on where the little girl is.
Madalina’s mom and stepfather are in jail for not reporting her missing to the police.
When investigators and school officials started asking questions, they said Madalina’s mom, Diana Cojocari, told them her daughter was missing.
At that point, police say it had been more than three weeks since Diana had last seen her little girl.
“I just don’t understand having a child to go missing for even six hours why that’s not a panic-stricken thing,” said Byrd.
Almost every neighbor in Madalina’s neighborhood, Victoria Bay, has gotten a knock at the door.
“I definitely saw all the cop cars and the FBI agents, I suppose, come to the door,” Byrd told us Monday.
Madalina’s home was raided by police Wednesday night. Investigators carried out items and what appeared to be envelopes.
“It’s kind of torn through the neighborhood a little bit,” said Byrd.
There are signs of the holidays.
“I hope it will give our neighborhood some strength and some peace that we were able to do something,” said neighbors at a vigil Tuesday for Madalina.
And then there are other signs of someone special who’s still missing.
According to arrest warrants, Diana Cojocari is from the European country of Moldova. She told police that she believed her husband “put her family in danger.” She does not know where Madalina is.
She said, according to the warrants, that she waited until police confronted her with reporting her daughter missing because she worried it would create “conflict” with her husband.