Police believe a body found in a Staten Island storage unit early Thursday morning might belong to Jeanine Cammarata, who was reported missing on Tuesday. Her estranged husband, whom Jeanine reportedly served with divorce papers days before her disappearance, has been arrested on assault charges.
Jeanine Cammarata's boyfriend told police that she dropped him off at his apartment before driving to the home of her estranged husband, Michael Cammarata, to see their children. That was the last time anyone saw her alive: Jeanine missed work at Staten Island's P.S. 29 and a local Dollar Tree, as well as a custody hearing on Monday. At the same time, friends received cryptic messages from Jeanine's Facebook account. When Jessica Pobega wrote Jeanine to tell her that people had become concerned and planned to go to the police, she received a brief text back saying, "I'm ok. Everything is fine," and claiming she had her kids with her. Still, the sender refused to pick up the phone, despite Pobega's repeated pleas.
"She didn't see the children this weekend, so I don't know who that was and what they were covering for," Pobega told ABC 7 New York. "She's my oldest friend. ...Something happened. Something bad happened. And I don't know what it is, and I really hope I'm wrong."
The boyfriend reported Jeanine missing on Tuesday, and Michael Cammarata was taken into custody on Wednesday, according to CBS 2 New York. Before asking for a lawyer, he allegedly told police that he and Jeanine met up and had sex, and that he hit her. Investigators reportedly have footage from security cameras that shows Michael leaving his apartment in the Rockaways on Saturday, with a bulky bag in hand, and then arriving at the same storage unit where a body was found Thursday.
Police are not currently holding Michael on charges related to Jeanine's disappearance, but on assault charges pertaining to previous abuse. Jeanine's landlord, José Perez, suggested to the NY Post that Michael may have stalked his wife: "[She] once told me that he would follow her [while she was driving] with the lights off on his car," Perez recalled.
Jeanine's divorce lawyer, Eric Gansberg, told the tabloid that his client seemed "eager" to wrap divorce proceedings and win custody of her two children with Michael. "She said she left the marital residence because of domestic violence," Gansberg explained, "although she didn't want to remove the children from their home."
Update: The NY Post reports that investigators found the body—"badly burnt" and stuffed inside a black plastic bag—at Extra Space Storage in Arden Heights, Staten Island. While the business could not confirm the unit's owner, it's reportedly cooperating with police, who showed up the morning after speaking with Michael Cammarata's current girlfriend. According to the Post, the timing was "no coincidence."