A body "charred and unidentifiable" was discovered Thursday morning at a New York City storage facility and is being investigated in connection with a public school teacher and mother of three children who went missing on Saturday, police said.
The remains were found at a storage locker in the Arden Heights section of Staten Island a day after Jeanine Cammarata's estranged husband, Michael Cammarata, was charged with assaulting the teacher, according to the New York Police Department.
NYPD Assistant Chief William Aubry said at a news conference Thursday that investigators searching for Jeanine Cammarata uncovered evidence that led them to the storage facility, but he declined to elaborate.
Aubry described Michael Cammaratta as a "primary suspect" in his wife's disappearance.
He said an autopsy is being conducted on the human remains found at the storage facility to determine the deceased individual's identity and cause of death.
"These remains were charred and unidentifiable," Arbury said.
New York City police have charged the estranged husband of a missing school teacher with assault even as she remains unheard from in five days.
Michael Cammarata, 42, was charged with assault on Wednesday, according to police. Jeanine Cammarata, 37, was last seen driving from Staten Island to Queens.
"With the discovery of these human remains, the investigation has taken a turn into a murder investigation," Aubry said. "So we are working with the Staten Island district attorney to establish probable cause and justification to charge him [Michael Cammarata] with murder."
Arbury said police are still searching for Jeanine Cammarata's car, which he described as a 2007 white Chevrolet Cruze with the license plate number HSK 8417.
Michael Cammarata has not been charged in connection with his wife's disappearance. He has been in custody since Tuesday and was charged with assault after allegedly admitting to hitting Jeanine in the past, according to New York ABC station WABC.
Jeanine Cammarata is a substitute teacher at P.S. 29 on Staten Island and also works part-time at a Dollar Tree. She did not show up for either job this week and hasn't been seen since Saturday night, according to the New York Police Department.
Detectives were seen searching her apartment in New Brighton on Wednesday evening.
The couple was in the process of divorcing and were in a legal dispute over custody of their three children.
Eric Gansberg, her lawyer, told WABC on Wednesday that he had not spoken to his client this week and feared the worst. She did not show up for a scheduled court hearing this week, he said.
"I've been doing this for over 35 years, nothing would surprise me," said Gansberg. "This does not sound like it's going to end well."
Jeanine Cammarata was reported missing by her current boyfriend Saturday night after she left his apartment and he could not reach her. Her boyfriend has been interviewed and is cooperating with police.
Someone claiming to be Jeanine texted her friend Jessica Pobega on Sunday, but refused to speak over the phone when she doubted it was the missing mother. She told the person she was going to call police, to which the person texted they "didn't want that."
"I have t.e kids ... I apologize. I have to do this for the children," the person responded via text.
An emotional Pobega told WABC on Tuesday, "Something happened. Something bad happened. And I don't know what it is, and I really hope I'm wrong."
Michael Cammarata is due in court on Thursday.