MONMOUTH COUNTY – Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Grammicioni announced during a press conference today that the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Colts Neck Police Department continue to investigate a multiple homicide and arson case following the house fires and four deaths that occurred on Nov. 20 in Colts Neck Township.
Keith Caniero, his wife, Jennifer, and their two children were found dead at their 15 Willow Brook Road residence in Colts Neck yesterday after reports of a fire at the home. Keith was found outside the home, shot to death. Jennifer and the two children, 11-year old Jesse and 8-year old Sophia, were found inside the home, confirmed Grammicioni.
In the early hours of Nov. 21, Paul Caniero, Keith Caniero’s brother, was charged for aggravated arson in connection with his own residence being set ablaze at 27 Tilton Drive in Ocean Township. Grammicioni stated that it is believed Paul set his own home ablaze.
Grammicioni confirmed that the MCPO has identified Keith and Jennifer Caniero’s bodies at the scene, and has tentatively identified the bodies of the two children. They are waiting for confirmation with the results of the medical examiner’s forensic examination, which should be available sometime later today, he said.
Dispatchers got a call at 5:01 a.m. about a fire at the Ocean Township residence.
Later, a landscaper notified police of another fire at the Colts Neck residence.
Upon arrival, Keith, Jennifer and their two children were found dead in and around the home.
While Grammicioni cannot yet confirm or deny Paul as a suspect in the arson and multiple homicide case at 15 Willow Brook Road, the prosecutor’s office does believe “the incidents are linked.”
The MCPO and Colts Neck Police are “looking at all angles” to further investigate the case, he added.
Grammicioni provided as much information as he could during the press conference, but left many with unanswered questions. The investigators are waiting for “the scene to be rendered safe,” in Colts Neck in order for them to get inside and confirm more information about the incident.
As of right now, Grammicioni confirmed that Paul and Keith were brothers and business partners with a business located in Asbury Park. Investigators will also be exploring into the Caniero family to determine any relevant connections, he explained.
Grammicioni believes that the Caniero’s in Colts Neck “in some form or fashion, were targeted,” leading him also to believe that other residents have “no reason to worry” about a quadruple killer on the loose.
It was confirmed that the three bodies that were severely burned during the fire were also victims of “homicidal violence prior to the fire.”
“We are not ruling anything out,” said Grammicioni.
Paul is being detained in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution awaiting a court appearance scheduled for Nov. 28. He is facing 5-7 years in prison on aggravated arson charges.
Grammicioni called this case “one of the most heinous cases…we have ever seen.”
The investigation is ongoing. More information is forthcoming.