STATEN ISLAND — Jose Perez lumbered about his Staten Island home in a daze Thursday evening, still in shock that – as far as he is concerned – his worst fears are now confirmed regarding Jeanine Cammarata, his missing friend, coworker, and tenant.
"Literally devastated. Ya know, because once you confirm that she's gone, and the way she was treated on her death," said Perez.
Thursday morning, members of the NYPD Crime Scene Unit, acting on new undisclosed evidence and information, scoured a storage unit about half an hour away from Cammarata’s home and made a gruesome discovery; A charred body, burned beyond recognition.
"With the discovery of these human remains, the investigation has taken a turn," said NYPD Asst. Chief William Aubrey on Thursday.
Missing since Saturday, the search for the 37-year-old mother of three, and public school teacher, is now a murder investigation.
"We're working with the Staten Island District Attorney to establish probable cause and justification to charge him with murder," Chief Aubrey said of Cammarata's husband, Michael Cammarata.
In fact, Jessica Pobega, a friend of the missing teacher, says she was having a text message exchange with someone she believes was pretending to be Jeanine Cammarata just before she went missing. She believes it was Cammarata's husband.
Her husband is now a prime suspect, and remains in police custody Thursday night, facing criminal charges after admitting he assaulted his wife.
"He was so angry that the children were goin to go with her," said Elisabeth Torres, another friend of Jeanine Cammarata.
Torres, visibly distraught, said she'll never forget Cammarata's positive outlook on life, regardless of what she was going through.
"That smile of hers. She was such a people person," said Torres.