Teen Son Arrested in Death of Benicia Family: Sheriff

A Benicia high school student has been arrested on suspicion of murdering three members of his family, officials said.

Nolen Buchanan, 16, is accused of killing father Adam Buchanan, 38; 8-year-old half brother Gavin Buchanan; and Gavin's mother, Molly McAfee, 37, who was set to marry the teen's father. The teen was taken into custody at a Benicia school around 1 p.m. Thursday, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Nolen, who was identified as Nolan by the sheriff, was charged as an adult with three counts of murder. A motive has not been disclosed.

Sheriff's officials last week opened a homicide and arson investigation after the remains of the family were found in a burned El Dorado County cabin. The family was reported missing on Sept. 11, when they headed to the cabin in the 4600 block of state Highway 193 for a weekend trip. A fire burned through the cabin and the bodies were found inside the cabin on Sept. 13.

When police began investigating the deaths, the sheriff said they found the teen at home on Cambridge Drive and told him about the fire at the family cabin. Nolen told police that his family had gone up to the cabin and he had stayed home.

Police later served a search warrant at the family's home in Benicia and at his dad's business, the Buchanan Construction Company. Police found "evidence contrary to the 16-year-old's earlier statement" inside a white Ford F150, but the sheriff didn't elaborate in a news release. On Sept. 19, police also found McAffe's puse and Buchanan's wallet, along with a gun and ammunition near the construction company. That evidence is being sent to a lab for processing.

Neighbors told KCRA and the Chronicle that Nolen was a model son and close with his father. His Facebook page shows a photo posted Sept. 20 of him wearing a black and gray hoodie wearing  "Neff" baseball camp. A photo posted in 2012 shows a baby holding out knuckles tattooed with the words "love" and hate."

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