A body believed to be that of a missing New York City public school teacher and mother-of-three has been found at a Staten Island storage facility.
Jeanine Cammarata, 37, disappeared on Saturday night, less than 48 hours after she told her estranged husband, Michael Cammarata, that she wanted a divorce.
She was last seen at about 9pm when she dropped her boyfriend off at his house and said she was going to visit Michael and their three-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter, who live with him. Later that night she sent several alarming messages to friends.
Michael, 42, was taken into police custody on Tuesday after he allegedly admitted to assaulting his wife on the night she went missing.
Investigators are said to have obtained surveillance footage which allegedly shows Michael carrying a large bag out of his apartment in the Rockaways shortly after Jeanine left on Saturday night.
Soon after he was seen arriving at a storage facility in Staten Island, where police recovered a woman’s body early Thursday.
A police spokesperson told the New York Daily News that authorities are working to make a positive identification of the victim and said: ‘A connection to the missing teacher has not been verified.’
A body suspected to be that of missing teacher and mother-of-three Jeanine Cammarata, 37, was found in a storage unit in Staten Island early Thursday morning
A lawyer representing Jeanine (left) said she had served her estranged husband Michael Cammarata (right) with divorce papers less than 48 hours before she vanished Saturday night
Authorities have yet to confirm the identity of the body recovered at the Extra Space Storage facility, where a police vehicle is seen above on Thursday
A city medical examiner vehicle is seen parked outside the storage facility. A police spokesperson said officials are working to make a positive identification of the victim
Investigators in white Tyvek suits were seen going in and out of a building at the facility
Jeanine’s boyfriend reported her missing on Tuesday after she failed to show up for work at elementary school P.S. 29 in Castleton Corner or her side job at Dollar Tree.
She had also failed to appear at a child custody hearing on Monday, according to the attorney handling her divorce, Eric Gansberg.
‘It just doesn’t make sense to me,’ Gansberg told the New York Post.
‘She was so eager to proceed. She wanted to be with her children. I cannot imagine her just walking away.’
By Tuesday afternoon Michael was questioned by police about Jeanine’s disappearance and allegedly admitted to police that he had hit her after they had sex on Saturday, according to WPIX-TV.
He was charged with stalking, harassment, and assault, though law enforcement sources have said those charges are unrelated to Jeanine’s disappearance.
Jeanine Cammarata was reported missing on Tuesday after she failed to show up for her job as an elementary school teacher at P.S. 29 in Staten Island. She was last seen at round 9pm Saturday when she dropped her boyfriend off at his house and said she was going to visit Michael and their three children, who live with him
Jeanine and Michael are seen above with two of their children at their wedding
Gansberg said Wednesday that he was not optimistic.
‘I’ve been doing this for over 35 years, nothing would surprise me,’ the attorney told WABC.
‘This does not sound like it’s going to end well.’
Those who know Jeanine say she was terrified of her husband. They say she described his behavior toward her as abusive.
Her landlord, Jose Perez, claimed that Jeanine was ‘concerned about her safety’ because Michael would harass her and follow her in his car.
‘She even escalated it because she was concerned about her safety.
‘And I mentioned it to her, I said to her: “You better get this thing straightened out, because you don’t want any problems”,’ Perez told WABC.
‘She always texted me where she’s at or if something’s happening to her. But she has not.’
Perez said he last saw Jeanine two weeks ago, and that she was determined to win custody of her two children with Michael.
‘He wasn’t giving her her kids, she wasn’t able to see her kids,’ the landlord said.
‘That’s when she said okay, I had enough. I’m gonna go get a lawyer, I’m gonna get divorced, and I’m gonna get custody of my kids. And now she’s gone.’
Jeanine also has an 11-year-old son from another marriage.
Jeanine was in the middle of a custody battle for her three children (above together) and missed a court hearing on Monday
Jeanine’s boyfriend and a co-worker at Dollar Tree, Elizabeth Torres, were questioned by police on Tuesday evening.
‘She let me know Friday she was going to pick up her children Saturday,’ Torres told ABC13.
‘And that’s the last anybody actually saw her,’ Jeanine’s best friend Jessica Pobega added.
Pobega said she received strange and mysterious text messages from Jeanine on the day she disappeared.
When Pobega told Jeanine she was going to call the police out of concern, the mother allegedly replied: ‘I don’t want that. I have the kids…I apologize. I have to do this for the children.’
Pobega appeared to be suspicious that it was actually Jeanine who sent her the messages because she never ended up seeing her children over the weekend.
‘I don’t know who that was and what they were covering for,’ she said, adding: ‘She’s my oldest friend. My mother is distraught. Something happened. Something bad happened. And I don’t know what it is and I really hope I’m wrong.’
Jeanine’s best friend Jessica Pobega posted the poster above on Facebook along with a plea for information about the mother’s whereabouts
Pobega took to Facebook to plead for any information on Jeanine’s whereabouts.
She noted that her sudden disappearance is suspicious, saying that Jeanine would always called into work if she couldn’t make it.
‘She’s never once NOT called into school. She’d never risk her job at the [Department of Education] in NYC. She’s never NOT check in with me or her sister Christine. She didn’t call her mother for her birthday, which was yesterday. There are a lot of people very worried,’ Pobega wrote.
Police revealed that her roommate received a text message from Jeanine on Monday saying she’s ‘okay’, but her roommate doesn’t believe Jeanine sent that text.
Jeanine’s sister Christine Ross told CBS: ‘The last I talked to her was Friday morning. We were talking about her coming to visit me.’
Ross added that Jeanine not appearing for her jobs is very irregular and worrisome.
Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by Tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.