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article imageBodies discovered after fire could be missing Benicia family

By Nathan Salant     Sep 26, 2015 in Crime
Garden Valley - Discovery of a third body in the gutted wreckage of a Northern California vacation home appears to solve the mystery of what happened to three missing members of a Benicia family, but doesn't answer the bigger question — why.
Identities of the bodies have not been conclusively determined, and officials have declined to say why they think Adam Buchanan and Molly McAfee and their 7-year-old son, Gavin, were murdered.
But the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department has opened a homicide investigation into their deaths, Sgt. Todd Hammitt told ABC-7 News in San Francisco.
"We are now treating this investigation as a homicide and arson investigation," Hammitt said.
The remains were found two days after the family left Benicia for a vacation at the cabin in Garden Valley, 100 miles to the northeast in the Sierra foothills.
Their cabin was destroyed by fire on Sept. 13, authorities said, but the bodies were not discovered for several days.
Adam Buchanan lived in Benicia's Southampton hills and owned a construction company in the city's industrial park across town.
Family attorney Stephen Gizzi, a former Benicia city councilman, called the case "beyond bizarre" and said the family was not having any major difficulties that he was aware of.
"They did not have any outstanding out-of-the-norm business or family problems," he said.
Buchanan also had a 16-year-old son who did not go on the trip and stayed behind in Benicia with his grandparents.
Hammitt said DNA test results on the remains would probably be available this week to positively identify the victims.
But the bodies are presumed to belong to members of the Buchanan family, who neighbors say have not been seen since Sept. 11, when they left for the cabin.
More about Buchanan, Murders, Garden Valley, Mystery, Bodies
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