A New Jersey man has been charged with murder in the death of his brother, his brother’s wife and their two children. Paul Caneiro was already in custody on arson charges after authorities said he tried to burn down his own home in Ocean Township with his wife and two daughters inside on November 20.
Later that same day, his brother, Keith Caneiro, was found dead of a gunshot wound on his front lawn while his wife Jennifer and their two children were found dead inside their Colts Neck, New Jersey, mansion after a fire.
Paul Caneiro, 51, was charged with aggravated arson and booked into Monmouth County jail on November 21, NJ Advance Media reported. Police told the Asbury Park Press Tuesday that they found gas canisters behind the home. On November 29, four counts of murder and aggravated arson were added to the charges against Paul Caneiro. He and his brother were business partners in a tech company, Square One.
Paul Caneiro, through an attorney, continues to maintain his innocence. His wife and daughters had been standing by him and planned to testify at a bail hearing on Wednesday, but the court appearance was postponed. His attorney, Mitchell Ansell, told the Asbury Park Press, “My client adamantly maintains his innocence and adamantly maintains that he would never hurt his family.”
Prosecutors plan to release more details later Thursday.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Paul Caneiro First Set His Own House on Fire With Gas With His Family Inside, Police Say
Paul Caneiro was arrested on aggravated arson charges in relation to the fire at his home Tuesday, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office. Paul Caneiro’s Ocean Township home on 27 Tilton Drive was set ablaze early Tuesday morning before Keith Caneiro’s home was set on fire after noon Tuesday.
Law enforcement sources told NJ Advance Media that Caneiro tried to intentionally start a fire at his own home. Police said earlier that they found gas cans behind Paul’s home.
Neighbors said the couple has two older children. Neighbors described the couple as “friendly and helpful” and added that Paul Caneiro was injured in a car accident several years ago.
2. Neighbors Said Paul Caneiro Was ‘Upset’ After The Fire
A neighbor told NJ Advance Media Tuesday that Paul and his wife Susan were at home when the fire started.
“Paul appeared upset and left a short time after,” a neighbor told the outlet.
“He said it must’ve been a gas leak, he had tears in his eyes. Susan was devastated. He said I’m in complete shock I can’t believe this is happening to me. They were here until about noon,” another neighbor said.
According to the report, there was no major damage to Paul’s home.
3. Paul Caneiro’s Brother Keith Caneiro and His Family Died in a Suspected Arson Fire in Their Colts Neck Mansion
Police told NJ Advance Media that Keith Caneiro was found dead on the front lawn of his home from a gunshot wound. The gunshot wound is not believed to be self-inflicted. Caneiro’s 45-year-old wife Jennifer and their two young children, a boy and a girl, were found dead inside. Their bodies were “burned severely,” according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.
According to the report, the two brothers grew up in Brooklyn, New York before marrying women from Staten Island and moving to New Jersey.
Property records showed that the Colts Neck property was bought in 1998 and the $1.5 million home was built in 2003. The 5,700-square-foot home was surrounded by fields and a large swimming pool. The Colts Neck area is known as the location where stars like Bruce Springsteen and Queen Latifah have owned homes. Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and his wife operate an animal sanctuary in the area.
4. Paul Caneiro and Keith Caneiro Were Partners in Tech Business & Pest Control Firm
Keith Caneiro is the owner of the Asbury Park technology consulting firm Square One and also runs EcoStar Pest Management out of the same building. Paul Caneiro was listed as Square One’s Vice President and helped run the pest control company, EcoStar Pest Management, as well, according to NJ Advance Media.
According to Keith’s LinkedIn profile, he had graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s degree earlier this year. He previously received a Bachelor’s degree from the university and also earned certifications from Harvard Business School. According to his website, he was also a realtor.
5. Police Immediately Began Looking Into Connections Between the 2 Crimes
Police immediately began to investigate whether the two fires and the killings were connected.
“Both of those homes are owned by family members … I’m sure you have questions as to if they related, and that remains to be seen,” Gramiccioni said Tuesday at a news conference. “But it is an angle that we’re continuing to pursue. Just let us do our investigation.”
“The last thing I should say is that if anyone has any information about this incident, or the Ocean Twp. fire, please call the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office or Colts Neck police,” he added. “Any little bit can constitute a piece of the puzzle that can make things clearer.”
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