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Estranged couple arrested in killing of teacher found in storage locker

NEW YORK CITY — The day after human remains "burned beyond recognition" were found at a Staten Island storage facility, police confirmed the body to be a missing teacher. Her estranged husband and a his girlfriend have been arrested in the killing.

Michael Cammarata and Ayisha Egea face second-degree murder charges, according to NYPD Chief Dermot Shea.

Shea also confirmed the body of Jeanine Cammarata, a teacher and mother of three, had been found.

The victim's estranged husband, Michael Cammarata, was initially arrested on charges of assault and stalking, according to police. Charges were upgraded after Jeanine Cammarata's body was discovered at an Extra Space Storage Thursday morning.

Ayisha Egea is Michael Cammarata's girlfriend, the victim's best friend, Jessica Pobega, said.

Jeanine Cammarata was last seen Saturday night at her boyfriend's home. She drove from his home that night to the apartment of her estranged husband under dangerous circumstances, according to her attorney, who was supposed to represent her in a potentially contentious divorce and custody proceeding on Monday, for which Jeanine Cammarata never appeared.

The 37-year-old's "charred and unidentifiable" remains were found days later in a large plastic bag at the storage facility. A law enforcement source said Thursday surveillance footage tied Michael Cammarata to that facility.

"I believe he probably baited her," said attorney Eric Gansberg, "because she was afraid of him."

Gansberg was hired by Jeanine Cammarata late last year. She informed her attorney she left her marital residence in mid-2017 "due to domestic violence."

There was no legal custody arrangement between Jeanine Cammarata and her estranged husband, and she was content with having her children live with him in a house they were familiar with, Gansberg said.

After Saturday, Michael Cammarata was mentioned frequently in texts between Jeanine Cammarata's cellphone and that of her best friend, Jessica Pobega.

In the texts, she said "I am with Mike and the children," among other messages that were meant to reassure Pobega.

When Jeanine Cammarata did not call and talk with her best friend, as requested, Pobega questioned, via text, if it was indeed her friend texting her back.

"It's me," read the response from Jeanine's phone.

On Thursday, Pobega told WPIX, via text, "I'm sorry, I'm just not ready to talk."

The medical examiner's office is working to determine Jeanine Cammarata's cause of death.

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