Two days before Thanksgiving, tech CEO Keith Caneiro was found dead on his front lawn with a gunshot wound to the head. The remains of his wife and two young children were discovered inside their Colts Neck, N.J., mansion, which had been set ablaze, local prosecutors said Wednesday.
Paul Caneiro, Keith’s brother, was arrested and charged with aggravated arson Wednesday — not for setting his brother’s home on fire, but for allegedly burning his own house, hours before the apparent quadruple homicide. Paul Caneiro’s wife and two daughters were also inside at the time, though none were hurt.
At a Wednesday news conference, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said that he believed Keith Caneiro’s family, whom he called “victims of homicidal violence," were targeted and that it was “one of the most heinous cases” he had ever seen, according NBC News.
The two Tuesday fires may appear too similar to be coincidence, but Gramiccioni did not say whether Paul Caneiro was a suspect in the deaths of Keith Caneiro, 50, his wife, Jennifer Caneiro, 45, 8-year-old Sophia and 11-year-old Jesse, NBC News reported.
The brothers were business partners at Square One, an Asbury Park technology firm. A neighbor told the Asbury Park Press that he saw Paul Caneiro and his family near his home in Ocean Township around noon, placing him miles from his brother’s Colts Neck estate on Willow Brook Road, to which firefighters responded around 12:30 p.m.
The typically quaint town of Colts Neck has housed celebrities such as Queen Latifah, Bon Jovi band members, and an animal sanctuary operated by Jon Stewart and his wife.
Attorney Robert A. Honecker, who is representing Paul Caneiro, did not respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment but told CNN that his client maintains his innocence. “His family fully support his defense of this charge. No evidence has been produced that suggests a reason why he would engage in such conduct. He fully expects to be vindicated when this case finally resolves,” he said.
Caneiro is expected to appear in court Wednesday.