"Charred and unrecognizable" human remains were found in a New York City storage facility Thursday amid a desperate search for a mother of three -- a development that had police working to determine if the missing woman had met a grim end.
Authorities have not confirmed if the remains found at the facility in the Arden Heights section of Staten Island belonged to school teacher Jeanine Cammarata, 37, who was last seen alive at about 9 p.m. Saturday at her boyfriend’s home in the borough's New Springville neighborhood, police said.
Police recovered the remains at the facility on Staten Island and are searching the building for additional evidence related to Cammarata's disappearance, authorities said in a Thursday news conference.
A medical examiner is working to confirm the remains' identity and the cause of death.
Police reportedly went to the storage facility after spotting the teacher's estranged husband, Michael Cammarata, 42, at the location on surveillance video. He was also seen leaving his apartment with a large bag, The New York Daily News first reported.
Michael Cammarata is the primary suspect in the school teacher's disappearance, which turned into a murder investigation by Thursday, authorities said. Cammarata was arrested Wednesday and charged with assault, harassment and stalking for a past incident involving Cammarata, police told Fox News.
Police were still looking for Jeanine Cammarata's vehicle, a white 2017 Chevy Cruz.
Family and friends became worried about Cammarata after she failed to show up to work on Tuesday at Public School 29 and at her second job at a Dollar Store, police said. Cammarata was last seen at work on Friday and was scheduled to be off on Monday for a custody hearing in court with her estranged husband. The mother was last seen on Staten Island traveling to Queens, police said.
Friends told ABC7NY that the mother of three — who is described as being 4-foot-11, 120 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes — was terrified of Michael Cammarata.
Cammarata’s landlord, Jose Perez, told ABC7NY, that the estranged husband would allegedly harass and follow Cammarata.
"She even escalated it because she was concerned about her safety,” Perez said. “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."
The couple was reportedly in the process of getting a divorce and previous domestic incident reports were also filed.
Cammarata’s friend, Jessica Pobega, said she also became concerned when she received a strange text from someone claiming to be the mother of three on Monday. When Pobega said she was calling the police, Cammarata responded, “I don’t want that.”
"She didn't see the children this weekend so I don't know who that was and what they were covering for," Pobega told ABC7. "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."