Paul Caneiro is a New Jersey man who is now accused of murdering his brother and his brother’s entire family and then setting fire to their million-dollar Colts Neck mansion and his own home.
The family members who died in the mass murder were Paul Caneiro’s brother, Keith Caneiro; Keith’s wife, Jennifer Caneiro; and Keith and Jennifer’s two children, Sophia and Jesse. Keith Caneiro was shot multiple times.
Paul Caneiro was charged with four counts of murder, aggravated arson, and possession of a knife and firearm for unlawful purpose. Paul Caneiro was previously accused of purposefully setting fire “to his Ocean Township home that same morning while his wife and two daughters slept,” prosecutors say. Paul Caneiro’s wife and children were not injured.
After murdering the Keith Caneiro family, the defendant then set fire to his own house in an effort to conceal his crimes, prosecutors allege. “The defendant murdered his brother, Keith Caneiro, and Keith’s entire family… during the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 20,” the chief prosecutor said in a news conference.
“Specifically, we allege that the defendant repeatedly shot and killed his brother while he was outside the side of his home, and then moved to murder the rest of the family inside the home. We allege that Jennifer was shot and stabbed, and the two Caneiro children were repeatedly stabbed by knife.”
Here’s what you need to know about the Caneiro family:
1. Keith & Paul Caneiro Had Joint Business Ventures Together
The motive was financial in nature as a result of the brothers’ joint business ventures, prosecutors allege, but they weren’t specific. They accuse Paul Caneiro of setting fire to his own home as a ruse to make it look like the entire family was targeted. Paul Caneiro’s attorney has said he is innocent of any charges.
According to The New York Times, the brothers “co-owned a technology consulting firm and a pest control firm that were in the same building in Asbury Park” and had a business relationship with each other for several decades. Keith started the technology with Paul as his first employee, the newspaper reported, and the company’s name blended both of their middle names.
Keith Caneiro’s obituary says Keith “earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Columbia University. He was the CEO of Square One Co., Asbury Park.”
Keith “loved spending time with his family and his dog Sydney in Greece and New Jersey,” the obituary continues. “He was an altruistic person, who would help everyone and anyone who needed his assistance. Keith enjoyed the Aspire Gym, Colts Neck. He was an avid reader, often reading 3 or 4 books in a week. He was a passionate sports fan and a loving husband and father.”
A woman who knew Keith Caneiro wrote on his tribute page, “Keith, I am so sorry this happened … it’s just so wrong. We worked together when you were our computer person at Citi in 1988, and I was so happy we got to reconnect in the past few years. I will always remember what a good person you were .. so smart and funny, such a loving father and husband.”
A man who knew him wrote, “Keith was well known and well liked by everyone at the Columbia Masters program he graduated from- he always a grin a joke for everyone and he will be very sadly missed by all that knew him.”
A man who sold Keith Porsche cars wrote, “I always enjoyed working with Keith, when he came in to purchase his Porsche’s from me. There was so much ‘give and take,’ with Keith, it was mostly give, but the experience was always fun, and we ended up friends for all the years……I always enjoyed his Dad, Cesar, who gave a calmness to the experience.”
2. Jennifer Caneiro Was a PTO Member Who Loved Throwing Holiday Parties
Jennifer Caneiro was the daughter of Bette and Vlassis Karidis.
The obituary for Jennifer Caneiro says she was 45, a graduate of the University of Albany, and an active member of the Conover Road School PTO.
“She enjoyed being with her husband Keith and their children Jesse and Sophia. Jennifer loved to host family parties for every holiday at her home,” the obituary reads. “She enjoyed exercising, going to the beach and traveling with her family to their home in Greece.”
A neighbor wrote on her tribute wall, “I missed you guys so dearly My heart is hurting so much. I will always remember you all I love you all. I will never ever forget you thank you for everything for being such a good neighbor, your friendships and kindness thank you for welcoming our family to your home and treat us as one of your family.”
3. Sophia Caneiro Enjoyed Baking & Loved the New York Yankees
The obituaries of the Caneiro children are heartbreaking. The obituary for Sophia Alexis Caneiro, who was 8, says that she was a third grader at Conover Road School in Colts Neck, New Jersey.
“She was member of the Colts Neck Girl Scouts, she participated in the Colts Neck Recreation program. She loved taking Ninja classes,” the obit reads. “Sophia enjoyed baking with her mom and her nanny Claudia. She loved ice skating, gymnastics and the New York Yankees. Sophia was a vibrant, enthusiastic and precocious girl, who enjoyed the arts. Her positive energy was contagious.”
A woman who knew Sophia wrote on her tribute page, “Sophia my Sophia I will always remember the first time we met you were so cute and funny I will miss your smile and whenever I make (your favorite) and cheese I will always make you a small plate for you. My girls will miss you dearly we will miss you too thank you for being such a good friend. You are a very beautiful. kind and funny girl.)”
4. Jesse Caneiro Loved Videogames & World War II History
Jesse Caneiro was only 11-years-old when he died. According to his obituary, Jesse was a 5th grade student at Conover Road School, Colts Neck.
“He excelled in history, especially WWI and WWII, and he could have a conversation with anyone about current world events,” the obit reads.
“Jesse enjoyed technology and learning about all the functions of the latest computers, phones and watches. He loved to play the video game fort night and building amazing structures with Legos. Jesse participated in the Colts Neck Recreation Sports programs.”
Jesse also liked traveling with his family and his grandparents to their home in Greece. His page also filled up with tributes. Wrote one woman, “Jesse, thank you for being a big brother for (the woman’s son) he always wanted to have a big brother and god answered his prayer he will miss you dearly you are a wonderful boy. You are his best friend forever.”
5. The Brothers Grew Up on Staten Island
An obituary says the brothers were the sons of Sherry and Cesar Caneiro. Paul and Keith also have another sibling named Corey Caneiro, who is married to Elisa. Paul is married to Susan Caneiro, and the couple has two adult daughters, according to The New York Times.
The New York Times reported that the “brothers grew up in Staten Island and moved to Brooklyn…and they married women from Staten Island and moved to New Jersey.”
According to the The Times, “Keith was the best man at Paul’s wedding in 1991, according to a wedding announcement in the Staten Island Advance.”