Police search lake near missing 11-year-old’s house as ‘precautionary measure’

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Law enforcement officials investigating the disappearance of Madelina Cojocari, an 11-year-old girl who was reported missing on Dec. 15, searched a lake in her North Carolina town on Monday, the FBI and local police said.

“As part of the normal investigative process, we are expanding our search to include Lake Cornelius as a precautionary measure,” the FBI’s Charlotte bureau said on Twitter. “There’s nothing we won’t do to #FindMadalina.”

Cojocari has been missing since Nov. 23, but her disappearance wasn’t reported to her school’s resource officer until Dec. 15, according to the Cornelius Police Department.

The girl’s mother, Diana Cojocari, 37, and stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, 60, were arrested on Saturday on the charge of failure to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement, police said in two statements.

Police said in a statement on Monday that the expansion of their search to the lake was “part of the normal investigative process,” which includes adding search locations outside Cojocari’s home.

“While the public will not see the majority of our investigative work, today you may see our lake patrol units and partners at the Cornelius Fire Department,” the department said on Facebook.

The department also said it was working with the FBI and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to speak with “every person” who may have info about Cojocari’s disappearance.

Police said they’re seeking to make an “exact timeline of when she was last seen.”

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