4 in NJ mansion fire died by ‘homicidal violence’

  • Colts Neck and Howell police officers block the road Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Colts Neck, N.J., leading to the scene of a fatal fire that killed two children and two adults. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead the day before at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray) Noah K. Murray

  • Law enforcement officials gather Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J., to investigate the aftermath of fatal fire that killed two children and two adults. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead the day before at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray) Noah K. Murray

  • Authorities gather Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J., to investigate the aftermath of fatal fire that killed two children and two adults. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead the day before at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray) Noah K. Murray

  • Monmouth Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni addresses media about bodies found at the scene of fatal at 15 Willow Brook Rd. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. Gramiccioni says the fire continues to burn late Tuesday afternoon at the two-story home in Colts Neck. He says one body was found out front. He is not yet identifying the victims.(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)(AP... Noah K. Murray

  • Pedestrians walk away from the scene of a fatal at 15 Willow Brook Rd. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni says the fire continues to burn late Tuesday afternoon at the two-story home in Colts Neck. He says one body was found out front. He is not yet identifying the victims.(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray) Noah K. Murray

  • Firefighters work the scene of a fatal at 15 Willow Brook Rd. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni says the fire continues to burn late Tuesday afternoon at the two-story home in Colts Neck. He says one body was found out front. He is not yet identifying the victims.(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray) Noah K. Murray

  • Firefighters carry a stretcher to the scene of a fatal fire at 15 Willow Brook Road, Tuesday, in Colts Neck,N.J. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. AP PHOTO

  • This image released by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, shows Paul Caneiro, who prosecutor charged Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, with aggravated arson. He's accused of setting fire to his own home in Ocean Township, N.J. That fire took place early Tuesday morning before authorities responded to a deadly blaze at the Colts Neck mansion owned by Caneiro's brother Keith and Keith's wife, Jennifer.

  • Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni speaks at a news conference in Freehold, N.J. on Wednesday Nov. 21, 2018 at which he announced that a family of four found dead at their Colts Neck N.J. home a day earlier had been murdered before their house was set ablaze. The brother of one of the murder victims has been charged with setting his own home ablaze hours earlier, but prosecutors refused to say whether they consider him a suspect in the murders. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry) Wayne Parry

Associated Press
Published: 11/21/2018 10:40:49 PM

COLTS NECK, N.J. — New Jersey authorities say a family of four in affluent horse country was slain before their mansion was set ablaze, but assured the community a killer was not on the loose, hours after they arrested the brother of the homeowner on Wednesday.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said authorities arrested Paul Caneiro, 51, and charged him with setting fire to his home in Ocean Township early Tuesday morning. Reports of a fire at his brother’s home in Colts Neck came in hours later, where the bodies of Keith Caniero, 50, and his family were found.

Keith Caniero was found shot to death on the lawn of the family’s mansion. He had sustained more than one gunshot wound, the prosecutor said. Inside the burning house, authorities found the bodies of his 45-year-old wife, Jennifer Caniero, their 11-year-old son Jesse and 8-year-old daughter Sophia.

Those bodies were badly burned, and medical examiners still had not determined causes of death for them as of Wednesday afternoon.

“We believe that this family in some form or fashion was targeted,” Gramiccioni said. Referring to Paul Caniero, Gramiccioni said, “I can’t confirm or deny whether he is a suspect” in the murders.

It wasn’t immediately known if Paul Caniero had retained an attorney. He is charged with aggravated arson and will make a first appearance in court next Wednesday. According to a criminal complaint, Paul Caneiro used gasoline to set his home on fire while his wife and two daughters were inside. No one was injured in that blaze, which was reported at 5:01 a.m., about seven and a half hours before the Colts Neck fire was reported.

The prosecutor said all four members of Keith Caniero’s family were “victims of homicidal violence,” adding there is no indication of suicide in his death.

Keith and Paul Caneiro were partners at a technology firm in Asbury Park, Square One.

Colts Neck is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of New York City, and the upscale enclave is home to a number of celebrities, including Bruce Springsteen. Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and his wife operate an animal sanctuary there; Queen Latifah sold her mansion there in 2015, and current and former members of the band Bon Jovi have called it home.


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