CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – New information obtained by Queen City News regarding 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari shows the stepfather drove to Michigan the night of her disappearance following a dispute between him and the girl’s mother.

Authorities expand search for missing girl to Lake Cornelius

The Cornelius Police Department released surveillance video from her school bus on Nov. 21. This is the last time officials had independent confirmation of when she was last seen.

The video can be seen below:

A Mecklenburg County warrant gave a clear timeline of the events. On Wednesday, Nov. 23, an argument occurred between Madalina Cojocari’s mother, 37-year-old Diana Cojocari, and stepfather, 60-year-old Christopher Palmiter. During the argument, Madalina went into her room to go to bed around 10 p.m. Palmiter then decided to drive to Michigan, where he has family, to pick up items. Around 11:30 a.m. the following day, Cojocari went into Madalina’s room to check on her, and Madalina was gone.

Palmiter was told about Madalina’s disappearance three days later, records showed, and Cojocari said she waited three weeks to report her disappearance because she was worried it would affect her relationship with her husband.

Both were arrested and charged with failure to report a missing child.

Madalina Cojocari’s home in Cornelius, just north of Charlotte, North Carolina

Both appeared in court this week virtually, where the state said neither has been forthcoming about her whereabouts. The mother is being held on a $250,000 bond with the district attorney’s office, indicating that she hindered the investigation and ‘begrudgingly’ reported her missing. Palmiter is being held on a $200,000 bond. His bond was increased from an initial $100,000.

Cornelius Police confirmed Madalina had been living at the home, and Palmiter told police the last time he’d seen Madalina was a week before he left for Michigan. Cojocari and Palmiter were married.

The search for Madalina continued Monday and expanded to Lake Cornelius, which is part of Lake Norman, about 20 minutes from Charlotte.

Neighbors we spoke with described the couple as ‘nice, but quiet’ and said they would see Madalina each day getting off the school bus and coming home from school.

Charlotte FBI and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations are involved in the investigation. Agents were seen going door-to-door on Monday at homes in the Cojocari neighborhood.

The Cornelius community will hold a vigil on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.