Caneiro survivors ask for privacy, after parents and kids killed
COLTS NECK — Relatives of the Caneiro family are asking for privacy following their funeral on Sunday.
Keith Caneiro, 50, his wife Jennifer, 45, son Jesse, 11, and 8-year-old daughter Sophia were all found dead at their Colts Neck home on Nov. 20 after it was set on fire -- but authorities say they were dead before the blaze. Paul Caneiro, Keith's brother, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and aggravated arson in the case. He is also accused of setting his own home on fire, with his immediate family inside.
He is being held at the Monmouth County Jail following a detention hearing on Friday.
The family's funeral was Sunday. The deceased were cremated, with their ashes placed into a blue-and-white marble urn with their names and birth dates on the outside, according to the New York Post.
"The Karidis family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received from our devoted family, the faithful friends of Jennifer, Keith, Jesse, and Sophia, and many other kind individuals from the community and beyond," in a statement from the family," the statement read, calling their deaths "tragic, sudden and incomprehensible."
Karidis is Jennifer Caneiro's family's name.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Paul Caneiro, who ran a computer security firm and a pest management company with his slain brother, was motivated financially but declined to elaborate citing court rules that bar prosecutors from unfairly tainting a criminal case through the media.
Although the Colts Neck fire was reported hours after the Ocean Township fire, investigators believe Caneiro first killed his relatives and set the fire in Colts Neck before returning to his home about 5 a.m. Prosecutors say the fire at Caneiro's own house was both a "ruse" and in an effort to destroy evidence that he had taken from the Colts Neck home.
Gramiccioni said Caneiro repeatedly shot his brother outside his home. Inside, he shot and stabbed his sister-in-law and stabbed his niece and nephew, investigators say.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says the Colts Neck fire was set in the basement. Gramiccioni said the fire smoldered for hours and later erupted into an inferno when somebody later went into the home: The opening of a door provided oxygen that fanned the flames.
The body of Keith Caneiro, with a gunshot wound to his head, was discovered by a landscaper, who alerted a neighbor. The fire was reported at 12:38 p.m. By the time responders found the victims inside, their bodies had been burned beyond recognition, officials said.
Investigators said they have possession of the knife and gun used in the slayings.
Gramiccioni said there is no evidence to indicate that the deaths and arsons are tied to organized crime.
Paul Caneiro's attorney, Robert A. Honecker Jr., says he heroically saved his wife and two adult daughters from the Ocean Township fire. Gramiccioni said investigators do not believe that he tried to kill his own wife and kids, but the gasoline-fueled arson put his family at risk, leading to the second-degree aggravated arson charges.
Honecker on Thursday said his client was innocent and that he had no reason to kill his family.
Full Family Statement
Statement The Karidis family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received from our devoted family, the faithful friends of Jennifer, Keith, Jesse, and Sophia, and many other kind individuals from the community and beyond.
The passing of these four beautiful people was tragic, sudden and incomprehensible and like you we are heartbroken. May we all take comfort in the wonderful memories and incredible moments of joy they gave to all of us.
On behalf of our entire family, we respectfully ask that we be allowed privacy as we grieve during this very difficult time. Thank you.
Previous reporting by Sergio Bichao was used in this report