A New Jersey couple and their two children were found dead inside their burning home on Tuesday, just miles away from where the husband's brother allegedly set fire to his own house.
Keith Caneiro, 50, was found shot dead outside while the severely burned bodies of his wife, Jennifer Caneiro, 45, and their two children were found inside their Colts Neck mansion, police said. Authorities tentatively identified the children as 11-year-old Jesse Caneiro and 8-year-old Sophia Caneiro.
Investigators said they did not believe the deaths to be the result of a murder-suicide.
"I can speak for these gentlemen up here … this is one of the most heinous cases that they have ever investigated or we have ever seen," Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said at a press conference Wednesday.
Keith had been shot in the back of the head, while Jennifer and their children had been stabbed, sources told NBC 4.
Firefighters responding to a 12:38 p.m. 911 call about the the blaze found the family when they arrived at the stately home located in an upscale community near the New Jersey shore. The fire continued to burn hours later, officials said.
That same day, Paul Caneiro, Keith’s brother, allegedly set fire to his own home about 10 miles away in Ocean Township, the Monmouth County District Attorney’s office said.
Paul, 51, was charged with one count of second-degree aggravated arson in connection to the fire at his house, which he allegedly doused with gasoline and set aflame with his wife and daughters inside, a criminal complaint said. However, no one was hurt in that fire.
Authorities said they believe the fires are connected but have not yet explained how. Gramiccioni said he could not confirm or deny if Paul is a suspect in the fire at his brother's home, or in the slayings of his relatives.
"We can't charge people unless we have evidence," he said.
But Gramiccioni noted authorities do not believe the public at risk.
"We believe in some form or fashion this family was targeted," he said.
Investigators cannot enter the Colts Neck home until it is deemed structurally sound, which Gramiccioni said Wednesday he hopes will happen in the coming hours.
A housekeeper believed to live in the home was "alive and well," Gramiccioni said, but would not comment further on her whereabouts during the fire and killings.
He urged anyone with information to come forward and call 1-800-533-7443. "Anybody that can help in any regard … please contact us," he said.
Paul is listed as the vice president of Square One, a New York-based strategic technology consulting firm launched by his brother, Keith. Keith is listed as the firm’s CEO and chief technology officer.