Remains found at storage shed identified as missing NYC mom; Husband, girlfriend charged with murder

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Saturday, April 6, 2019
Husband, girlfriend charged with murder in death of NYC mom
Josh Einiger has more on the Staten Island mother found dead after missing for days.

NEW SPRINGVILLE, Staten Island (WABC) -- The estranged husband of Jeanine Cammarata and his current girlfriend were charged with murder Friday after the body of the New York City mother of three was positively identified.

The Medical Examiner announced that the human remains found at a Staten Island storage shed Thursday belonged to Cammarata, and NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea tweeted her husband Michael Cammarata and his girlfriend Ayisha Egea were charged with murder.

Police said 42-year-old Michael Cammarata and 41-year-old Ayisha Egea were each charged with murder in the second degree, concealment of a human corpse, and tampering with physical evidence. Both were arraigned on Friday in Staten Island.

Jeanine Cammarata, 37, was last seen near Denker Place and McVeigh Avenue around 9:00 p.m. Saturday when she left her current boyfriend's house.

A tip led officers to the storage facility in the Arden Heights section early Thursday morning, where a police dog located the remains, which were in a bin with a bag wrapped around it.

"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 Michael leaving his Queens apartment building with a bag. Authorities said surveillance video at the storage facility shows what appears to be the same man entering with the same bag.

Michael Cammarata has been in custody since Tuesday and was originally 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 said Jeanine was terrified of Michael.

"Harassment, following her in the car," said landlord and former co-worker Jose Perez. "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," one friend said.

On Friday, the memorial to Jeanine continued to grow.

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.

Jeanine Cammarata did not show up to work 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."

Now the two kids the Cammaratas shared are in the custody of ACS.


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