Boy arrested in deaths of 3 found in burned California cabin

PLACERVILLE — A 16-year-old boy has been charged with killing his father, the father’s fiance and their 8-year-old son, whose burned bodies were found in their rural Northern California cabin.

Nolan Buchanan was arrested at his high school in Benicia on Thursday, El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini said at a news conference. He was charged as an adult with three counts of murder, District Attorney Vern Pierson said.

Authorities found the bodies in the aftermath of a Sept. 13 fire at the family’s cabin in Greenwood, about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento.

The remains were identified as Adam Buchanan, 38, his fiance Molly McAfee, 37, and their son Gavin.

Nolan Buchanan told investigators the three took a trip to the cabin and he had chosen not to go, D’Agostini said.

After finding the blaze suspicious, deputies searched the Buchanan home and Adam Buchanan’s office in Benicia, a San Francisco Bay Area city about 100 miles away, seizing records, computers and a pickup truck.

The search turned up Adam Buchanan’s wallet and ID, McAfee’s purse, a gun, ammunition and other evidence that led to the arrest of Nolan Buchanan, D’Agostini said.

The teen was expected to appear in court Friday or Monday, Pierson said. It wasn’t clear whether he had an attorney yet who could comment on his case.

The sheriff said such grisly cases are not unheard of in his mostly rural county, but they are rare.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The City has struggled to conduct outreach in some neighborhoods as it works to expand Slow Streets — such as this section of Page Street in the Lower Haight — to underserved neighborhoods. <ins>(Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
SFMTA delays vote on Bayview Slow Streets, approves five others in ‘underserved’ areas

SFMTA struggles to conduct outreach in neighborhoods with lower internet access

Stern Grove Festival organizers are planning to bring back the popular summer concert series — The Isley Brothers show in 2019 is pictured — with limited audience capacity. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
Indoor shows won’t be flooding SF stages soon but Stern Grove might be back in June

While San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that live performances may resume… Continue reading

San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto  (47) started on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on April 9, 2021. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants welcome fans back with strong performance by Cueto

By Ethan Kassel Special to S.F. Examiner ORACLE PARK — The first… Continue reading

James Harbor appears in court after he was arrested on charges in the July 4th shooting death of 6-year-old Jace Young on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Murder case heads to trial over killing of 6-year-old Jace Young

Hearing reveals new details in ‘horrific’ Fourth of July shooting

BART passengers may see more frequent service by this fall. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART service increases possible as soon as September

Proposal would double weekday, daytime trains and extend system operating hours

Most Read