Family found dead at burning N.J. mansion as brother of victim arrested in nearby arson case

COLTS NECK, N.J. – The investigation into a fire and the deaths of four people found at a New Jersey mansion took a turn Wednesday when authorities arrested the owner’s brother on an arson charge stemming from a blaze in his own nearby home.

Paul Caneiro was charged with aggravated arson Wednesday. The fire at his Ocean Township home, about 16 kilometres away from the mansion, was the same day as the one in Colts Neck. Authorities had speculated that the two fires could be related but haven’t charged anyone in connection with the mansion fire.

Colts Neck is about 80 kilometres south of New York City, and the upscale enclave is home to a number of celebrities, including Bruce Springsteen. Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart and his wife operate an animal sanctuary there; Queen Latifah sold her mansion there in 2015.

Firefighters work the scene of a fatal fire on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead at the scene.

Property records indicate the Colts Neck home was owned by Keith Caneiro. He and Paul Caneiro are listed as executives at a technology firm, Square One.

It wasn’t immediately known if Paul Caneiro had retained an attorney. The Monmouth County prosecutor’s office was scheduled to hold a news conference later Wednesday.

Three severely burned bodies were found inside the mansion, and a man’s body was discovered outside, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Tuesday.

A medical examiner was investigating how the four people died, Gramiccioni said.

Firefighters responded to the fire around 1:30 p.m., and it was still burning hours later. Video showed firefighters battling the blaze as smoke poured from the roof of the two-story home, which is surrounded by fields and includes a large swimming pool.

Helicopter footage showed a sheet in the middle of the yard next to the house, with police tape cordoning off the area.

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