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Wife and kids inside mansion fire were stabbed multiple times before blaze engulfed the home: Report

Police say a family of four found dead Tuesday after their New Jersey mansion caught on fire were targeted victims of “homicidal violence.”

NBC New York reports that 50-year-old Keith Caneiro was found dead from a gunshot wound on Wednesday, lying on the lawn of his $1.5 million Colts Neck mansion. Authorities found his wife, Jennifer Caneiro, 45, inside the home, along with the couple’s children, 11-year-old Jesse and 8-year-old Sophia. All three victims were severely burned.

Keith Caneiro was shot in the back of the head, while the two children and their mother were found different rooms with multiple stab wounds. Police said the family died from “homicidal violence,” although the exact cause of death has not yet been released.

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Keith’s brother, Paul Caneiro, was arrested after his own home in nearby Ocean Township also caught fire Tuesday morning. Paul Caneiro’s wife and two daughters were inside the home when the fire started, but authorities reported no one was injured.

Paul Caneiro (l), Keith Caneiro and family (r) [Police Handout/Facebook]
“We believe that in some form or fashion, this family was targeted,” Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Wednesday. “This is one of the most heinous cases we have ever seen.”

Paul Caneiro’s  lawyer, Robert A. Honecker Jr., said he had nothing to do with the deaths of Keith and his family, according to The New York Times.

“He loved him. And he would not do his brother any harm,” Honecker explained. “He maintains his innocence on the current charge and the potential charges. His family fully supports him as he moves forward with his defense and he expects to be fully exonerated as this case is resolved.”

As of Friday, Paul Caneiro has not been charged with the family’s deaths. He’s scheduled for a court appearance next week, where prosecutors will reportedly provide additional details on the fires and what may have transpired between the suspect and his brother, who were partners at two companies, pest control firm, EcoStar Pest Management and technology consulting firm, Square One.

Paul Caneiro remains behind bars on a felony charge of arson.

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

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[Feature Photo via AP/WABC]