Christopher Palmiter, 60, the stepfather of Madalina Cojocari, 11, was arrested after the North Carolina girl went missing. She was last seen getting off a school bus on November 21, but her mother Diana Cojocari reported her missing on December 15.

Christopher was arrested along with Madalina’s mother Diana on Saturday, December 17, by the Cornelius police just two days after the FBI got involved in the search. 

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On Tuesday, Palmiter appeared in front of a virtual court, where his bond was increased to $200,000. During the trial, the stepfather claimed that he didn’t see Madalina the night before her disappearance as he had gone to Michigan to “pick up items” from the family in the state on November 23.

Who is Christopher Palmiter?

Christopher is a North Carolina resident and worked as a mechanical designer at industrial machinery manufacturer Ingersoll Rand, according to his LinkedIn profile. Previously, he worked for Troy Design, Prince Manufacturing, Inc, Aerotek, and B/E Aerospace.

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He attended Grand Ledge High School in Grand Ledge, Lansing Community College in Lansing, and Grand Valley State University in Allendale. 

When the police came to arrest him for failing to report his stepdaughter’s disappearance, he was living with Diana at their Cornelius residence. He is 37 years older than Cojocari, according to Conan Daily. Diana gave birth to Madalina Cojocari in 2011. 

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He has reportedly been under the FBI’s watch since the start of the frantic search for Madalina. Before his latest arrest, Christopher had no criminal history.

On the day of her disappearance, her mother had argued with her husband. Christopher took off to Michigan that evening, returning three days later on November 26, after which, he claims he came to know that the young girl was missing from the house. Diana said that did not report the little girl’s disappearance until December 15, because she feared Palmiter’s reaction.