STATEN ISLAND — The day after human remains "burned beyond recognition" were found at a Staten Island storage facility, police confirmed the body to be a missing teacher. Her estranged husband and a his girlfriend have been arrested in the killing.
Michael Cammarata and Ayisha Egea face second-degree murder charges, according to NYPD Chief Dermot Shea.
Shea also confirmed the body of Jeanine Cammarata, a teacher and mother of three, had been found.
The victim's estranged husband, Michael Cammarata, was initially arrested on charges of assault and stalking, according to police. Charges were upgraded after Jeanine Cammarata's body was discovered at an Extra Space Storage on Arden Avenue Thursday morning.
Ayisha Egea is Michael Cammarata's girlfriend, the victim's best friend, Jessica Pobega, tells PIX11.
Jeanine Cammarata was last seen Saturday night at her boyfriend's home on McVeigh Avenue. She drove from his home that night to the apartment of her estranged husband under dangerous circumstances, according to her attorney, who was supposed to represent her in a potentially contentious divorce and custody proceeding on Monday, for which Jeanine Cammarata never appeared.
The 37-year-old's "charred and unidentifiable" remains were found days later in a large plastic bag at the storage facility. A law enforcement source said Thursday that surveillance footage tied Michael Cammarata to that facility.
"I believe he probably baited her," said attorney Eric Gansberg, "because she was afraid of him."
Gansberg was hired by Jeanine Cammarata late last year. She informed her attorney that she left her marital residence in mid-2017 "due to domestic violence."
There was no legal custody arrangement between Jeanine Cammarata and her estranged husband, and she was content with having her children live with him in a house they were familiar with, Gansberg said.
After Saturday, Michael Cammarata was mentioned frequently in texts between Jeanine Cammarata's cellphone and that of her best friend, Jessica Pobega.
In the texts, she says "I am with Mike and the children," among other messages that were meant to reassure, but when Jeanine Cammarata did not call and talk with her best friend, as requested, Pobega questioned, via text, if it was indeed her friend texting her back.
"It's me," read the responding text from Jeanine's phone.
On Thursday, Pobega told PIX11 News, simply, via text, "I'm sorry, I'm just not ready to talk."
The medical examiner's office is working to determine Jeanine Cammarata's cause of death.
Correction: This story initially misreported Jeanine Cammarata and Michael Cammarata's relationship. It has since been updated with the correct information.