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Estranged Husband Of Missing Staten Island Mother Arrested As Family, Friends Continue Frantic Search

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A desperate search is underway for a Staten Island mother and teacher who has been missing since the weekend.

Police said Jeanine Cammarata was last seen on Saturday night by her boyfriend when she dropped him off at his apartment on McVeigh Avenue in Heartland Village. He reported her missing Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he estranged husband was arrested and charged with assault.

The 37-year-old mother of three is a teacher at P.S. 29 in Castleton Corners. She hasn't been seen in four days.

He mother is trying hard not to think the worst has happened.

"I miss her and I love her. Jeanine, please let us know where you are. I've been up all night worrying," she told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez.

Her sister told CBS2 she also worked at a local Dollar Store to make ends meet. She hasn't shown up for either since last week.

Search for missing Staten Island mother and public school teacher Jeanine Cammarata. (Photo via CBS2)

Her worried loved ones want her safe return.

She dropped her boyfriend at his McVeigh Avenue apartment on Staten Island Saturday night. Most surprisingly, she didn't show up for a Monday morning custody hearing for her kids.

"I understand that she's going through a very bad divorce. I don't know if she's afraid, she's afraid to come out," her mother said.

Police brough Cammarata's estranged husband Michael Cammarata in for questioning and charged him with assault after he admitted hitting her. He's not been charged in her disappearance.

Longtime friend Jessica Pobega told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis she messaged Cammarata on Facebook Monday afternoon, but she's convinced it wasn't her friend responding.

"This is not her. I know her well enough to know that her disappearing like this is not normal," she said.

A friend of a missing Staten Island woman texted with someone using her phone, but she does not believe the person on the other end was actually 37-year-old teacher and mother Jeanine Cammarata. (credit: Jessica Pobega)

Pobega begged the person on the other end to call her immediately.

"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,'" she said. "I 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.'"

Pobega wrote "You need to contact someone now because we are going to the police station."

The writer on the other end claiming to be Cammarata said she couldn't call because she was with her estranged husband Mike and their kids.

Pobega, still unconvinced it's Cammarata writing, "I will never ever speak to you again if you don't call me right now."

Cammarata's landlord, Jose Perez, said her white Chevy hasn't been parked outside her apartment on Cassidy Place since last week. The NYPD tweeted Wednesday, saying the vehicle has a license plate No. HSK8417.

"She works two jobs to support her family, she's always trying to provide for her kids, you know, she's a hard worker," said Perez.

Police said her roommate also received a text message from Cammarata on Monday saying she's OK, but her roommate does not believe Cammarata wrote the text.

"She told me that the way it was worded it was not Jeanine, because she would have known right away the way they speak," Perez said.

Perez is hoping Cammarata just needed some time away and is OK.

"Jeanine come home, come home. There's a lot of people that care about you, just come home," Perez said.

On Tuesday, CBS2 spoke with her sister in Florida who said Cammarata has been fighting for custody of her kids, who currently live with their father, her ex-husband.

"She was supposed to have an appearance Monday and she never showed," Christine Ross told CBS2 over the phone.

Her sister also said Cammarata hasn't shown up for either of her jobs.

"She loves her job. She's been a teacher for a very long time," she said. "She's pretty much always working."

Ross said she, too, has not heard from her sister in a few days.

"The last I talked to her was Friday morning. We were talking about her coming to visit me," she said.

Cammarata is 4 feet 11 inches tall, about 120 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police said they spoke with her boyfriend and he is not considered a suspect.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by Tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

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