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Prosecutor: Family of 4 victims of ‘targeted’ homicide after suspicious fire in their New Jersey mansion

The deaths shocked the well-to-do town of Colts Neck, home of the wealthy and celebrities like Bruce Springsteen and Queen Latifah.

Firefighters work the scene of the suspected arson fire in a Colts Neck mansion where a family of four was found dead Tuesday.
Firefighters work the scene of the suspected arson fire in a Colts Neck mansion where a family of four was found dead Tuesday.Read moreNoah K. Murray / AP Photo

Police are investigating the deaths of a family of four whose bodies were found after a suspected arson fire in their $1.5 million mansion in the well-to-do Monmouth County town of Colts Neck.

District Attorney Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Wednesday the four were victims of a "targeted" homicide. They were identified as Keith Caneiro, 50, his 45-year-old wife, Jennifer, and their children Jesse, 11, and Sophia,8.

Authorities in the meantime arrested the Keith Caneiro's brother, Paul Caneiro, 51, and charged with him setting fire to his own home in Ocean Township hours before the blaze in Colts Neck, about 10 miles away, was reported.

Gramiccioni said investigators were looking at a possible link between the two fires, but declined to say if Paul Caneiro was a suspect in the homicides. At the same time, he said he did not think residents needed to fear a killer was on the loose.

Firefighters responding to the Colts Neck blaze after noon Tuesday found the body of Keith Caneiro, who had been shot, outside the modernist house and discovered the bodies of his wife and their children inside after extinguishing the flames. No cause has been reported yet for the victims inside the house.

Gramiccioni said the investigation was hampered because forensic teams had no yet entered the house while waiting for engineers to say it was safe for them to do so.

Keith Caneiro is described as the CEO and chief technology officer for a company Square One in Asbury Park and also is a licensed real estate agent. Paul Caneiro is listed as vice president of Square One, which calls itself a "full service technology consulting firm."

The fire at Paul Caneiro's house was reported around 5 a.m. Tuesday, officials said. His wife and two adult children escaped unharmed.

The slaying shocked usually genteel Colts Neck in Monmouth County's horse country. Besides being a bedroom community for wealthy investors and business people from New York it is home to a number of celebrities, including Bruce Springsteen and Queen Latifah.