Ayisha Egea, the girlfriend of Michael Cammarata, is accused of the murder of her boyfriend’s estranged wife, Jeanine Cammarata. The Staten Island teacher has been missing from her home since March 30. She was last seen by her boyfriend, Aaron. A few days before her disappearance, Jeanine had served her husband with divorce papers. The couple has two children together. They had been living with their father and Egea at their home in Queens, an arrangement that satisfied Jeanine.
In the early hours of April 4, the NYPD made the gruesome discovery of human remains in a storage facility on Staten Island. Those remains were confirmed to be the badly burned body of Jeanine Cammarata on April 5. She was 37 years old. On the same day of that confirmation, Michael Cammarata, 42, and Ayisha Egea, 41, were formally charged in the death. Those charges were announced by New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea. In addition to murder, police say that Egea and Michael Cammarata are facing charges of concealment of a human corpse and tampering with physical evidence.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ayisha Egea Said She Had an Interaction With Jeanine on the Night the Teacher Vanished
Cammarata was due to pick up her kids at the 120 precinct police station in St. George, Staten Island, according to the Staten Island Advance. Egea told the newspaper that Cammarata instead showed up at her former husband’s home in Queens where the pair had a brief conversation. Cammarata’s boyfriend, Aaron, told the Advance that in his last interaction with her, she told him that she was going to pick up her kids.
2. Egea Was Accused of Helping a Convict Escape From a Halfway House in 2007
In June 2007, Egea was working as a secretary at Re-Entry of Ocala, halfway house located in Ocala, Florida. The Ocala Star-Banner reports that Egea was arrested for allegedly helping a convict, William C. Jackson, escape from the halfway house. Jackson had been working in the kitchen of the halfway house where he as seeing out a sentence for burglary. He was scheduled for release in 2009.
The Star-Banner reported at the time that when authorities discovered that Jackson was missing, they immediately went to Egea’s home. It’s not clear why authorities went to Egea’s home first. At first, Egea refused to allow police to search home saying that Jackson was not there. When Egea relented, officers discovered Jackson hiding in a corner of her attic. Egea was charged with aiding prison escape.
3. Egea & Michael Cammarata Will Be Arraigned in Criminal Court on April 5
According to the NYPD, Egea and Michael Cammarata will be arraigned in Criminal Court on April 5. The Staten Island Avance reports that the couple lived together in Beach 56th Place in Queens, just by Rockaway Beach. CBS New York was the first to report that Michael was being questioned in relation to his wife’s disappearance.
New York 1’s Dean Meminger reports that Michael Cammarata will be charged with assault on Jeanine Cammarata. His station also reports that the missing teacher’s car was seen driving across the Verrazzano Bridge, which links Brooklyn and Staten Island, on the night she vanished. However, it’s not clear if Jeanine was driving the car.
4. One Report Says that Jeanine’s Body Had Been ‘Burned Beyond Recognition’
Pix 11, citing a law enforcement source, reports that the body that was found at Extra Space Storage in the Arden Heights neighborhood of Staten Island was “burned beyond recognition.”
The New York Post reports that Jeanine disappeared two days after she served Michael Cammarata with divorce papers. The tabloid, quoting Jeanine’s divorce lawyer, Eric Gansberg, said that the couple was prepared to go to court over the custody of the 3-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter. Gansberg told the Post, “My greatest fear is I will not be speaking to Jeanine again.”
Speaking separately to PIX11, Gansberg said that Jeanine was “terrified” of her husband.
5. While She Was Missing, Jeanine’s Friends Had Been Getting Strange Messages From Her
Speaking to ABC New York, Jessica Pobega, Cammarata’s roommate, said that on March 31 her friend began sending her strange Facebook messages. At one point, Pobega said she told Cammarata that she was calling the police. Cammarata replied saying, “I don’t want that… I have the kids. I apologize. I have to do this for the children.” Pobega added that Cammarata had picked up her children that weekend. Police later said that Cammarata texted her roommate to say that she was okay and “needed a break.”
In a post on her Facebook page, Pobega wrote, “She is a mother of 3 children, she’s a school teacher. She’s never once NOT called into school. She’d never risk her job at the board of Ed in NYC. She’d never NOT check in with me or her sister Christine. She didn’t call her mother for her bday, which was yesterday.” Pobega told the media that she does not believe the messages she received came from Cammarata. Pobega told NBC New York, “The fact that she was messaging me on messenger when her phone wasn’t on was crazy to me, and then I kept asking her to call me, call me. She would never miss school. She would always at least call them and say, ‘I’m not coming in.'”
Pobega explained the interaction to CBS New York in more detail saying, “I was like, “call me right now, you need to call me right now, I need to hear your voice, I don’t believe you, I don’t believe it’s you.” even asked when’s the last time I saw you, and the person couldn’t respond to it. They didn’t answer, they just kept saying, “I’m OK, I’ll call you soon.” Cammarata’s sister told Pix11 that she did not believe that the messages were sent by her sister.