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article imageAuthorities charge teen in arson, slaying of family in California

By Nathan Salant     Oct 2, 2015 in Crime
Greenwood - A Bay Area teenager was arrested Thursday and charged with killing three members of his own family, whose bodies were found in the burned-out remains of their vacation home in the Sierra foothills.
Nolen Buchanan, 16, was taken into custody Thursday by El Dorado County Sheriff's Department investigators and charged with multiple counts of murder after forensic testing confirmed that the three bodies found in the family's fire-ravaged vacation home were his father, half-brother and future stepmother.
Adam Buchanan, 38, his fiancee Molly McAfee, 37, and their son, Gavin Buchanan, all of the San Francisco Bay Area city of Benicia, were shot prior to the discovery of their bodies in Greenwood in El Dorado County, where the family frequently visited, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Authorities said they began to suspect the older son after evidence they found at the scene of the fire and in searches of the family's home and Adam Buchanan's construction company office in Benicia contradicted statements Nolen Buchanan made to investigators when they notified him about the fire, the newspaper said.
Nolen Buchanan told investigators that his father, brother and McAfee had gone to the cabin for a vacation but that he had stayed behind at the family's home on Cambridge Drive in Benicia.
But authorities found Adam Buchanan's wallet and a purse belonging to McAfee in Benicia Industrial Park, near his father's business office, a week after the fire, El Dorado sheriff's investigators said.
Investigators also found a shotgun and ammunition in the business park on Sept. 19.
Evidence also was found inside the family's white Ford truck, which authorities said they found at the Benicia home.
"The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office, the Benicia Police Department, the state Department of Justice and the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office for their assistance in this investigation," authorities said in a written statement posted to the department website.
"We would also like to thank the citizens and business owners who have assisted us in this investigation," the statement said.
Investigation into the tragic events will continue, the sheriff's department said.
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