Elm Avenue Resident Found Dead After Fire Was Murdered, Prosecutor Says
Robert Cantor died from a gunshot wound, fire was arson, prosecutor says.
Robert Cantor, the Elm Avenue man found dead after a fire at his house, died from a gunshot wound and the blaze was intentionally set, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said Tuesday afternoon.
"Preliminary results of the autopsy indicated that Robert Cantor was killed by suffering a gunshot wound prior to the fire being set," Molinelli said in a statement. Cantor was found dead in his basement around 1 a.m. Monday.
Cantor, 59, was identified through dental records, the statement said. He lived alone at 212 Elm Avenue.
Police Chief Robert Wilson said he could not comment on the investigation and referred questions to the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor did not return messages seeking additional comment.
Residents in the normally quiet Elm Avenue neighborhood said they were shocked to learn Cantor had been killed.
Cesar Guaman, who lives across the street from the crime scene, said he considered the area safe and often saw police on patrol.
"We don't know what's going to happen now," he said. "It's scary because I have kids."
Guaman said he didn't know Cantor well, but said he was friendly and was often outside doing housework.
Cantor, 59, worked for Verizon Wireless and property records show he owned the Elm Avenue house with his wife, Susan Kirschenbaum. They raised two daughters, according to a 2005 New York Times article. It was not clear if the two were divorced or separated. Both daughters graduated from Teaneck High School and attended college out of the area.
A woman who answered the phone at Kirschenbaum's Bogota home Tuesday said she would not comment.
The case marked the second time in seven months that a resident was found slain after an arson fire. In August, outspoken town gadfly Joan Davis was found dead after a fire at her Alpine Drive home. The prosecutor's office has said Davis died from blunt force trauma and stab wounds, but has released few details. The case remains unsolved.
The prosecutor did not mention the Davis killing in the statement released Tuesday.
Authorities would not say if they had any suspects in Cantor's death.
Molinelli asked anyone with information to call Teaneck Police at 201-837-2600 or the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Major Crime Unit at 201-226-5500.
Reports of the three-alarm fire, at Cantor's home on the corner of Elm Avenue and Terhune Street, came in around 12:15 a.m. Monday, police said. Hackensack, Ridgefield Park, Bogota and Englewood fire departments were called for mutual aid.
Police said there were no other injuries.
Check back for more details on this developing story.