CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The parents of missing 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari could stay in jail for years awaiting trial on the charge of not reporting their daughter missing, according to a criminal defense attorney.

Madalina’s parents are not saying much.

“At this point, I’d just tell my client to sit there and keep their mouth shut,” said criminal defense attorney Carlyle Sherrill. “Anything you say can be used against you.”

The Salisbury attorney has experience with another high-profile missing child case.

He represented Casey and Sandy Parsons in the early days when their adopted daughter, Erica’s disappearance first came to light in 2013 in Rowan County.

“Told them to stop talking,” Sherrill said. “That didn’t work.”

Unlike Madalina’s parents, the couple stayed out of jail and kept talking.

“Casey and Sandy just had this elaborate scheme they came up with, and they broadcast, invited reporters into their homes on several occasions to be able to tell this scheme that she’d come up with,” Sherrill said.

The lie didn’t work, and the two are now serving prison sentences for Erica’s murder.

In Madalina’s case, Sherrill says Madalina’s stepfather’s trip to Michigan, a day after Madalina’s mom says she last saw the young girl, raises questions.

“That trip to Michigan bothers me,” said Sherrill. “It bothers me because she disappeared at the same time. She disappears, and he’s going somewhere far away, several states away, then it looks suspicious,” said Sherrill.

Sherrill says Cojocari’s parents could stay in jail for years awaiting trial just on the charge of not reporting their daughter missing to the police.

Or he says they could put up a property bond on their Cornelius home, posting the combined $450,000 bond. Another option has each parent posting bail and getting out individually, but a judge said they’d have to surrender passports and get electronic monitoring.

Madalina’s stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, has a $200,000 bond; her mother, Diana Cojocari, has a $250,000 bond.

“Really, it’s a hard case to get involved in as an attorney because you don’t know what it’s going to turn into. You don’t know. It could be a murder case before it’s over,” said Sherrill.