16-Year-Old Arrested For Shooting Family, Remains Found In Burned Cabin

16-Year-Old Arrested For Shooting Family, Remains Found In Burned Cabin
June 12 around Wrights Cabin Gila National Forest / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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A 16-year-old boy was arrested on grounds of fatally shooting three members of his family –his father, stepbrother and father’s fiance – and setting fire to the El Dorado County cabin where the remains of the deceased were later discovered.


Nolan Buchanan, the prime suspect, was charged and arrested Thursday morning. El Dorado County Sheriff, John D’Agostini, said the dead victims found in the burned cabin were identified as Adam Buchanan, 38; his fiancée, Molly McAfee, 37; and their son, Gavin, 8. They had been shot before the cabin was set on fire, D’Agostini added.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Nolan is being prosecuted as an adult. He could be brought in court on Friday. It remains unclear whether an attorney is representing the suspect.

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Adam and his family had traveled to their cabin at 4646 state Highway 193 in Greenwood for the weekend on September 11. They had been missing since. On September 13, the cabin was found burning amid the wildfire, the sheriff’s office said. Investigators went in the cabin after the fire was out and found the remains of three people whose DNA were subsequently sent for testing.

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While the search warrant was served at the Benicia residence and Adam’s construction company, Buchanan Construction Co., a white Ford F150 truck belonging to Adam was found at the Benicia home. The evidence gathered from inside the truck contradicted Nolan’s statement, who had said that he had stayed home. The pickup “wasn’t supposed to be up here and it was up here. And then it was back down in Benicia,” D’Agostino said.

On September 19, items that included a purse with identification for McAfee and wallet with identification for Adam were discovered in a business park near the Buchanan Construction Co. site. Also found with the purse and wallet was a firearm and ammunition. While the motive for the shooting remains unclear, D’Agostini said there were no other suspects. It is also unknown how the fire instigated, though arson has been confirmed.

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Nolan had stayed behind, driven the truck to the cabin and fatally shot his family before returning to Benicia. He was living in Benicia and attending school until he was arrested Thursday, D’Agostini said. According to CBS San Francisco, El Dorado County District Attorney, Vern Pierson, said the suspect had been charged with three counts of murder. His arraignment could as soon as Friday or on Monday.

From the beginning of the case, Nolan had been on a “shortlist of suspects,” D’Agostino said. “[Cases like these] are rare. We investigate them thoroughly … but they are absolutely tragic cases,” D’Agostino said. “A father, a son and a mother have all lost their life…. That’s devastating to any family and any community.”

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