What to Know
- Jeanine Cammarata, 37, was reported missing Monday night, the NYPD said; she had last been seen Saturday on Staten Island
- The mother of three worked two jobs -- as a public school elementary school teacher and a Dollar Store clerk -- and hadn't shown up
- Sources said Friday that her estranged husband and his girlfriend had been charged with second-degree murder in the case
The estranged husband of a missing Staten Island, New York teacher and mother of three, as well as his girlfriend, were arrested on murder charges Friday, a day after a body charred beyond recognition was found in a storage facility a few miles from where she lived, NYPD sources tell News 4.
Jeanine Cammarata, 37, had been missing for nearly a week before the burned body was found in a garbage bag, surrounded by air fresheners, at a sprawling storage center in her home borough. Ayisha Egea, the girlfriend of Jeanine Cammarata's estranged husband Michael, was the one who pointed investigators to the site, a senior law enforcement official told News 4.
The husband was also captured on surveillance footage at the facility, the senior official said. Now both are accused of second-degree murder, concealment of a human corpse and tampering with physical evidence, according to a criminal complaint.
The murder charges come as the medical examiner's confirmed Friday that the body found was "positively identified as Jeanine Cammarata, with a positive identification made through dental records."
Investigators previously said that the body had been burned so badly it was completely unrecognizable.
Jeanine Cammarata, a public elementary school teacher on Staten Island, hadn't been seen publicly since Saturday night at her home on Staten Island. Eric Gansberg, who is representing Cammarata in ongoing divorce proceedings against Michael Cammarata, told News 4 the missing woman had been heading to her husband's Queens home to see their children the night she disappeared.
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The NYPD confirmed at a briefing Thursday afternoon that Jeanine Cammarata had last been seen en route to Rockaway, Queens, from her home. Cops said they're still looking for Jeanine Cammarata's vehicle, a 2017 white Chevy Cruz.
Gansberg said Jeanine Cammarata was "terrified" of her estranged husband, and that if something nefarious happened to the woman, it was likely at his hands.
Gansberg said Michael Cammarata had custody of the children because Jeanine was living in an apartment she felt wasn't suitable for them. Jeanine Cammarata worked two jobs -- one at an elementary school and one at a Dollar Store -- and hasn't shown up for either of them this week, which prompted a missing persons report. The couple had no legal custody agreement involving the children.
According to Gansberg, they had lived together but started having problems in 2017. They fought, had orders of protection against each other that were later rescinded and were in the middle of getting divorced. Gansberg said he and Jeanine Cammarata had talked about an upcoming court hearing about a week ago -- and that she wouldn't have missed it for any reason within her control.
That court hearing was Monday. Jeanine Cammarata did not show up.
"When Jeanine did not appear in court, I couldn't figure out why, and it was very upsetting," he said. "We tried to reach her on her cell phone, it went directly to voicemail, text and email. And there was nothing."
Gansberg described her as a dedicated educator, hard worker and loving mom. Jeanine's Staten Island landlord couldn't reach her either.
Michael Cammarata was initially arrested Tuesday on charges of assault, harassment and stalking in connection with an earlier confrontation in which he allegedly hit Jeanine Cammarata multiple times. He also allegedly stalked her on several previous dates, law enforcement sources tell News 4.
Information on attorneys for Michael Cammarata and Egea wasn't immediately available.