Mother of Madalina Cojocari spotted in western NC one year ago

MADISON COUNTY, N.C. — Monday marked one year since Madalina Cojocari’s mother was spotted in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Diana Cojocari pulled off on the side of the road late at night. She was nearly three hours away from her Cornelius home -- about 150 miles -- days after Madalina was last seen in public.

Many of the people who Channel 9′s Dave Faherty spoke with on Monday said they haven’t forgotten Madalina or her mother, who was spotted in Madison County.

Madalina Cojocari was last seen in public on Nov. 21, 2022 while getting off her school bus. Investigators said her parents didn’t report her missing for another three weeks.

But in those days in between, on Dec. 4, Diana Cojocari was spotted in Madison County at a pull off area along Highway 25 and Lonesome Mountain Road.


“A lot of people get lost around here, that’s the thing,” resident Sherry Ramsey told Faherty. “Unless she knew somebody here.”

Ramsey has lived in the area for more than 40 years, and like many there, still prays that Madalina is found safe.

“That they find her alive. That’s what we’re all hoping,” she said.

Deputies and the State Bureau of Investigation searched the area near where Diana was spotted, even going door-to-door sharing missing persons flyers in late December.

Johnny Moore posted one of the flyers at the Lonesome Mountain Market. He and other businesses owners say the highway there is often used to avoid construction work along Interstate 40.

Faherty checked with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and they confirmed there was construction on I-40 last year west of Asheville. It was going on at the time Diana Cojocari was spotted out that way.

“People come in here and ask us if they’ve ever found her,” Moore said. “I hope they find her. I hope they find her alive.”

Law enforcement said Madalina Cojocari was not inside her mother’s car when she was spotted at the pull off. He checked with law enforcement over in Tennessee and they said they have not been contacted about the case.

Diana Cojocari and her husband are charged with failure to report the disappearance of a child.

(WATCH PREVIOUS: Community prays for Madalina Cojocari one year after she vanished)