'Charred' Remains Found In Search For Missing NYC Teacher, But Police Can't Confirm If It's Her

The NYPD has described Jeanine Cammarata's ex-husband, with whom she was locked in a bitter custody dispute, as the "primary suspect" in her disappearance. 

By Dorian Geiger

Police in New York found "charred and unidentifiable" human remains at a storage facility in their search for missing Staten Island woman Jeanine Cammarata, but can't yet confirm if they belong to her.

The New York Daily News reported earlier Thursday that police had potentially found the body of Cammarata, a mother of three and public school teacher who’s been missing since Saturday, citing unnamed sources. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, the NYPD announced they had recovered a corpse from a storage facility on Arden Avenue in Staten Island, but they were unable to confirm the identity of the corpse.

"Early this morning members of the NYPD recovered human remains on the southern end of Staten Island," said NYPD Detectives Assistant Chief William Aubry.  "These remains were charred and unidentifiable. Currently the New York City Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the identification and the cause of death of this individual. We are continuing our search of the storage facility for additional evidence."“

Cammarata, 37, was last seen by her boyfriend over the weekend. She was a teacher at Public School 29 on Staten Island, according to ABC News.

Her ex-husband, 42-year-old Michael Cammarata, is in police custody on assault, stalking, and harassment charges, but has not been charged in her disappearance. Aubry described Michael Cammarata as the "primary suspect" in the case. Jeanine’s current boyfriend told authorities the teacher said she needed to see her ex-husband and children last weekend. That was the last time she was seen.

Jeanine Cammarata

In the days since her disappearance, friends and family of Jeanine reported getting cryptic texts from her phone, but were unable to verify if the messages were actually coming from her.

Jeanine and her ex were locked in a tumultuous child custody battle at the time of her disappearance. She went missing two days before the former couple were supposed to appear in a Staten Island courtroom over the dispute.

"Harassment, following her in the car," Jose Perez, Jeanine’s landlord, told WABC-TV about the troubled relationship between Jeanine and her ex.

"She even escalated it because she was concerned about her safety,” Perez added. “I said to her, ‘You better get this thing straightened out, because you don't want any problems.'"

But their relationship was allegedly punctuated by abuse.

"She was afraid of him," Eric Gansberg, Jeanine’s divorce lawyer, told Oxygen.com.

Gansberg said the couple split in 2017—and that it ended badly.

"She literally fled the residence," he explained. "There was tremendous domestic violence."

Gansberg told Oxygen.com that he last spoke with her a day before she disappeared. They were preparing for court the following Monday. When Jeanine didn't appear, Gansberg said he was concerned. 

"She was eager to go forward," he said. "I was alarmed when she did not appear." 

The Daily News also reported that shortly before police discovered the body at the storage facility, surveillance captured Cammarata leaving his Rockaways apartment, “with a large bag.”

Cammarata allegedly told police that he met up with his ex-wife and the two had sex - and that he hit her, according to the Daily News report. He requested a lawyer when asked for more details. 

Gansberg said he had heard authorities might have found Jeanine's body. He fears the worst and is worried about what might happen to her children, if indeed the body is Jeanine's.

"Those are the ones that are going to suffer the most," he said.

Police discovered the unidentified body at the New York storage facility after receiving a Crimestoppers tip, according to CBS New York.  

Anyone with information about the case 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.

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