Jeanine Cammarata, 37, was last seen near Denker Place and McVeigh Avenue around 9 p.m. Saturday when she left her current boyfriend's house.
The remains were found inside a storage facility in the Arden Heights section Thursday morning, and investigators were working to positively identify the remains.
"The human remains are unrecognizable," said Chief William Aubry of the NYPD Citywide Investigations Division. "Charred and unrecognizable."
The NYPD has surveillance video purportedly showing her estranged husband, 42-year-old Michael Cammarata, leaving his Far Rockaway, Queens, apartment building with a bag. Authorities say surveillance video at the storage facility shows what appears to be the same man entering with the same bag.
The NYPD obtained a search warrant and found the yet-to-be-identified body.
"If in fact, the father did something nefarious, then the children may have lost both a mother and a father," Jeanine Cammarat's attorney, Eric Gansberg, said. "And the trauma to them is going to be tremendous."
WATCH: NewsCopter 7 over storage facility where remains were found
Michael Cammarata has been in custody since Tuesday and is currently charged with assault, allegedly for hitting Jeanine in the past, which police say he admitted during questioning.
The two reportedly have a tumultuous relationship with prior domestic incident reports filed, and they were said to be in the process of divorce with an ongoing child custody battle in the court. Friends say Jeanine was terrified of Michael.
"Harassment, following her in the car," landlord and former co-worker Jose Perez said. "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' ... She always texted me where she's at or if something's happening to her. But she has not."
At Jeanine's apartment Thursday night, friends lit candles, held each other and tried not to think about the man police suspect killed her.
"Only because to be honest he doesn't deserve my breath to talk about what a monster he is," said one friend.
The body was reportedly found in a bin, with a bag wrapped around it, inside the storage facility.
"The medical examiner had to go through that bag," said Aubry. "The investigation has taken a turn into a murder investigation."
Detectives have also recovered the van believed used by the estranged husband to drive the bag from his Queens home to Staten Island. They are still searching for Jeanine Cammarata's white 2017 Chevrolet Cruze with NY license plate HSK8417.
The Medical Examiners Office has not yet positively identified the remains, but the investigative assumption is it is Jeanine Cammarata.
Jeanine Cammarata did not show up to work Monday or Tuesday at PS 29 on Staten Island, where she was working as a substitute teacher. She also had a second job at a Dollar Tree on Staten Island.
"She let me know Friday she was going to go pick up her children Saturday," said Elizabeth Torres, who also works at the Dollar Tree.
The boyfriend called 911 Saturday and said Cammarata was gone, last seen leaving his New Springville apartment to meet her estranged husband and see their kids.
"That's the last anybody actually saw her," said Jessica Pobega, Cammarata's best friend.
Authorities are looking into text messages received by Pobega from someone claiming to be Cammarata the day after she disappeared.
Pobega wrote in the texts that she was calling the police.
"I don't want that," the reply read. "I have the kids ... I apologize. I have to do this for the children."
Cammarata also did not show up for a custody hearing in court this week.
Police say another friend got a text allegedly from Cammarata, saying she just wanted to get away.
"She didn't see the children this weekend, so I don't know who that was and what they were covering for," Pobega said. "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."
Anyone with additional information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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