Investigators: Teaneck Fire Set To Mask Murder

Man Burned Beyond Recognition, But Autopsy Reveals Gunshot

TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police are searching for clues and a motive after a New Jersey father was shot and then his home was set on fire as an apparent cover-up.

CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez has more on this murder mystery in Teaneck.

As neighbors captured a home video of fierce flames devouring a house on Elm Avenue on Monday they had no idea it was more than just a fire. It was murder.

RELATED: Authorities Continue To Investigate Teaneck Arson-Homicide

Firefighters discovered the body of homeowner Robert Cantor in the basement.

He was burned beyond recognition and was identified through dental records. It wasn’t until the medical examiner performed an autopsy that investigators realized he had been shot.

Neighbors were stunned to learn such a heinous crime happened on their quiet tree-lined street.

“It’s no problem at all, but now, this case is a really scary,” neighbor Allessandro Bruno said.

“Sounds like a little foul play going on somewhere,” resident Sherri Siwulec said.

Prosecutors said Cantor, 59, lived alone in the house. Friends said his marriage only recently ended in a bitter divorce. Neighbor Cesar Guaman said Cantor’s ex-wife seemed terribly distraught when he called to tell her the home was on fire.

“She was so desperate. She turned crazy. She was back and forth running, all over the place there,” Guaman said.

Sanchez tried to speak to cantor’s ex-wife at her Bogota home, but her family asked for privacy.

“No, there’s no statement,” one family member said.

Cantor was a software engineer for Verizon Wireless. A devoted father of two adult daughters, he was well known in the community and well liked.

When asked if he could think of any reason why anyone would want to kill Cantor, Guaman said, “I don’t think so. He was a very quiet man. He wouldn’t get in trouble with anyone.”

But Cantor did find himself in trouble with someone. The question is, who?

This is the second time in seven months that Teaneck firefighters responded to a house fire and discovered a murder victim inside.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Hazel Sanchez
  • Ladygagagagaga

    Were these fires started with gasoline? If so… Take the time that the fire started. Subtract travel to the nearest gas stations. Check surveillance of gas stations for anything that may lead you to a suspect. I would also do the same check in cross reference with Joan Davis. I watch criminal minds. I think reed would say that it is unlikely that two arsonists would be operating in the same area in such close proximity. Go get it boys in blue.

  • Marvin Kirschenbaum

    Irwin: Thank you for writing that, it is much appreciated.

  • Charles

    Such bad reporting. You should be ashamed of yourselves. This is a persons life. Shame on you, CBS news.

  • Vehicle Warranties

    How many employees need to work for an auto warranty company? I think they would only have 6 at most 10 workers.

  • Carlos Liriano

    grill his ex-wife, she knows for sure who did it

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