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Family tentatively ID’d as victims of Colts Neck blaze; brother arrested in separate fire: prosecutor

Posted at 10:01 AM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 15:30:59-05

NEW JERSEY — A man accused of arson is in custody Wednesday as officials investigate the death of his brother, sister-in-law and possibly the couple’s small children after a separate fire burned the same day in New Jersey, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

Firefighters battle a deadly blaze in Colts Neck, New Jersey on Nov. 21, 2018. (AIR11)

Keith Caneiro, 50, and Jennifer Caneiro, 45, have been identified as two of the four people found dead in or near a burning Colts Neck home on Tuesday, prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said at a news conference Wednesday.

The Caneiro children, 8-year-old Sophia and 11-year-old Jesse, have been tentatively identified as the other two victims, according to Gramiccioni. The medical examiner is expected to confirm their identities by the end of the day.

All four were victims of “homicidal violence” prior to the fire, Gramiccioni said.

Keith Caneiro was shot and found dead in front of the Colts Neck home, according to the prosecutor.

Jennifer Caneiro and the other two victims were severely burned and located inside the home, Gramiccioni said. It is not yet known what violence they faced.

Keith Caneiro’s brother, Paul Caneiro, was arrested Wednesday morning in connection to a separate fire in nearby Ocean Township.

Paul Caneiro was arrested in connection to a New Jersey fire that took place on Nov. 20, 2018. (Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office)

Paul Caneiro, 51, faces a second-degree aggravated arson charge in the fire on Tilton Drive in Ocean Township around 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Gramiccioni said. The charge carries a five- to 10-year sentence.

He is accused of using gasoline to ignite that fire while his wife and two daughters were inside, according to a complaint and warrant provided by the Prosecutor’s Office to CNN.

No one was injured in that blaze.

Investigators are working to determine if the Ocean Township and Colts Neck fires are connected, and confirm that Paul Caneiro has not been charged in the death of his brother, sister-in-law or their children.

The Ocean Township fire occurred about 10 miles from, and hours prior, to the one in Colts Neck.

Keith Caniero and Paul Caneiro worked together, according to online records. Paul Caneiro is listed as the vice president of Square One, and Keith Caneiro’s LinkedIn profile describes him as the CEO and chief technology officer for Square One.

Paul Caneiro is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, Nov. 28.

Anyone with any information about the fires are asked to call 800-533-7443, according to prosecutors.