NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Although a charred body found inside a storage unit has not been identified, the NYPD said that the missing-persons case of a Staten Island teacher has now pivoted to a murder case and her estranged husband is the prime suspect.
Jeanine Cammarata, 37, has been missing since Saturday when she left her boyfriend's home in the New Springville section of Staten Island heading for her estranged husband's apartment in Queens to visit her children, police said.
Cammarata had served her husband, Michael Cammarata, with divorce papers and was fighting for custody of their children. They were due in court Monday but she never showed up.
When she didn't come to work at P.S. 29 on Staten Island on Tuesday, she was reported missing.
Detectives investigating her disappearance spoke to Michael Cammarata on Wednesday and ended up arresting him on unrelated assault, harassment, and stalking charges related to previous allegations, a source told FOX 5 NY.
On Thursday morning, police found a body inside a unit at the Extra Space Storage on Arden Avenue in the Arden Heights section. That is about 5 miles from where she was last seen.
Police said that security video shows Michael Cammarata carrying a large duffle bag out of his apartment on Saturday night. Another video shows him bringing the bag to the storage facility, authorities said.
NYPD Assistant Chief William Aubry said that the body was burned beyond recognition and that the medical examiner is working to identify it. In the meantime, police are working with the Staten Island district attorney to charge Michael Cammarata with murder.
Jeanine Cammarata's lawyer, Eric Gansberg, said she had filed the divorce papers two days before she disappeared.
"I'm hoping for the best but I truly fear the worst," Gansberg said hours before the body was found.