EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS SF) — A 16-year-old Benicia resident has been charged with murder for allegedly killing his father, step-brother and his father’s fiancée in the family’s El Dorado County cabin and then burning the cabin down, El Dorado County officials announced Thursday afternoon.
Nolen Buchanan has been charged as an adult in the three murders after originally telling investigators that he had remained behind in Benicia while his family visited the cabin for a weekend in September.
Sheriff John D’Agostini confirmed the remains of three people found in the burned cabin were 38-year-old Adam Buchanan, his fiancée 37-year-old Molly McAfee, and their 8-year-old son Gavin. He said the family had been shot before the fire started.
Adam Buchanan and his family went missing after leaving for the weekend on Sept. 11 to visit their cabin at 4646 state Highway 193 in Greenwood.
The cabin was found burning in the middle of a 10-acre wildfire at about 11 a.m. on Sept. 13, according to the sheriff’s office. After the fire was out, investigators found the remains of three people inside and sent the remains for DNA testing.
Sheriff’s deputies traveled to Benicia to tell Nolen Buchanan about the fire and he told them he had stayed behind.
Days later, investigators returned to serve a search warrant at the family’s home at 500 Cambridge Drive in Benicia as well as at Buchanan’s construction business, seizing a white Ford F-150 truck.
Investigators found evidence in the truck that contradicted Nolen Buchanan’s statement, D’Agostini said.
Later, they found McAfee’s purse and Adam Buchanan’s wallet along with a gun and ammunition at a Benicia business park near Buchanan Construction & Sons at 4868 E. Second St.
Nolen Buchanan apparently had stayed behind but then drove the truck to the cabin, killed the family and returned to Benicia. He continued to live in Benicia and was attending school, according to D’Agostini. He was arrested Thursday.
El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said Nolen Buchanan has been charged with three counts of murder and will be arraigned in the case on either Friday or Monday.
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