Bullets, money trouble, bloody glove: Affidavit lays out NJ quadruple homicide

by Kim Boateng Posted on February 26th, 2019

Freehold, New Jersey: Keith Caneiro was planning to cut his brother Paul Caneiro out of their joint business ventures just before authorities say the latter killed Keith, his sister-in-law and their two children, according to a probable cause affidavit. Investigators also found a bloody glove and clothing in Paul Caneiro’s basement, according to the affidavit.

More than three months after the gruesome killings of Keith Caneiro, 50, Jennifer Caneiro, 45, their 11-year-old son, Jesse, and 8-year-old daughter, Sophia, authorities have finally released the full text of a document charging the victims’ relative with their murders and laying out in detail the grisly evidence collected against him.

Keith Caneiro sent an email “to two business associates indicating that there was money missing from the business and that he, (Keith), would be discontinuing payment” to Paul’s wife until the money was found, according to the affidavit.

A 16-count indictment against Paul Caneiro, also released Monday, alleges for the first that Paul stole roughly $75,000 belonging to Keith Caneiro or his family between January 2017 and November 19, 2018 – the day before the murder.

Keith was also planning on selling off one of his and Paul’s joint businesses and had told a relative “that he was frustrated with Paul and the amount of money Paul spent from their business accounts,” according to the affidavit.

Keith forwarded that email to a relative about 7 p.m. the night before he was found dead with his family, according to the affidavit.

About seven hours later, neighbors’ surveillance cameras captured headlights and a white colored SUV, believed to be a Porsche, leaving Paul Caneiro’s Ocean Township home and arriving back two hours later at about 4 a.m. Authorities allege that’s the night Paul Caneiro, 52, traveled to Willow Brook Road in Colts Neck where he killed his brother and his brother’s family and left the secluded mansion ablaze.

Keith Caneiro owned 90 percent of Square One, a web development company, and Paul the other 10 percent, according to the affidavit. They owned equal shares in EcoStar Pest Management, which shared offices with Square One in Asbury Park.

Prosecutors launched a financial investigation of the businesses in November because they believed the motive for the murders was financial in nature.

An office manager told investigators that Paul Caneiro had been classified as disabled after a car crash and that his salary “was paid to his wife,” according to the affidavit. “The office manager reported that in the past year, Keith has told her to stop payment to (Paul’s) wife because of arguments with Paul over money.”

The Asbury Park Press previously reported that Paul Caneiro was seriously injured in a severe car accident in Asbury Park in 2012, which required a lengthy recovery and took an emotional toll on Paul.

The full affidavit catalogs a list of evidence a state trooper and his K-9 partner found in Paul Caneiro’s home, such as “a plastic container containing clothing, including jeans and a latex glove, with red stains consistent with blood,” it read. The New Jersey State Police DNA Laboratory reported that it was Sophia Caneiro’s blood that was found on the jeans and the latex glove, the affidavit said.

Investigators also found an unspent 9 mm round in the clothing, which was “consistent” with shell casings they found at Keith’s home, according to the affidavit. Police said they found a 9 mm Sig Sauer in a backpack in one of Paul Caneiro’s cars, along with a firearm suppressor, “a night vision firearm accessory,” a laptop and Paul Caneiro’s passport.

A neighbor of the Caneiros reported “four to five loud ‘cracks’ consistent with gunshots followed by one single gunshot” shortly after 3 a.m. to investigators, according to the affidavit. Another Colts Neck resident had reported the gunshots in a 911 call and township police investigated “but were unable to locate the source of the gunshots,” according to the affidavit.

Police and firefighters went to Keith Caneiro’s home after taking a 911 call for a fire there shortly after noon the same day. They found Keith Caneiro dead outside, shot once in the lower back and four times in the head, according to the affidavit.

Firefighters found Jesse dead, stabbed several times, on the kitchen floor, and Sophia, also dead and also stabbed several times, on a stairwell landing between the home’s first and second floors, according to the affidavit. Jennifer Caneiro, shot once in the head and stabbed several times in her torso, was found dead on a stairwell between the basement and first floor, according to the affidavit.

When firefighters burst in, a surge of oxygen caused the small fire Paul Caneiro allegedly set overnight to erupt into an inferno that consumed much of the house, authorities have said.

A second affidavit spells out the evidence on which police charged Paul Caneiro with torching his own home: Burn marks on his white loaner Porsche, a charred rubber glove near the car and a scorched garage door, plus a cluster of gas cans inside a shed and a digital video recorder that stopped recording right after Paul Caneiro walked up to it in his garage at 1:30 a.m. the day of the killing.

Superior Court Assignment Judge Lisa P. Thornton ordered the records sealed Dec. 3, 2018, citing potential harm to the investigation.

“Because the parties established good cause that disclosure, at this juncture, would harm the investigation and prosecution of defendant and threaten the integrity of the proceedings and defendant’s right to a fair trial, the motion is granted in part,” Thornton wrote in the order to seal.

Authorities believe Paul Caneiro shot Keith to death outside Keith’s Colts Neck home, then went inside and shot and stabbed Jennifer, stabbed the children and set a fire in the basement to cover his tracks.

When he returned to his Tilton Drive home, Paul Caneiro allegedly set his own home on fire with his wife and two adult daughters inside. The second blaze was designed to destroy evidence from the Colts Neck murders and confuse investigators into thinking the wider Caneiro family was being targeted, prosecutors allege.

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