Homicide, arson investigation opened in fire that burned Benica family's cabin

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) -- Sheriff's investigators in El Dorado County on Wednesday said they are now treating the case of the missing Benicia family as a homicide and an arson.

They also say it appears three sets of remains were found and three people from a Benicia family are missing.

Adam Buchanan, his live-in girlfriend Molly McAfee and their seven year-old son Gavin have been missing since a fire destroyed their small weekend cabin in El Dorado County on September 13th.

Adam's 14-year-old son had stayed behind in Benicia.

At first, the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department said they found two sets of human remains. Wednesday that changed.

"We possibly have a third set of remains hat were located inside the original fire scene. And we are now treating this as a homicide investigation," said Sheriff's Department Sgt. Todd Hammitt.

Investigators would not say if they believe what happened to the Benicia family was a murder-suicide, but they do not believe the public is in danger.

"That's what the general public needs to stress, that the public does not need to worry about their safety," Hammitt said.

A family attorney spoke with Buchanan's relatives about the possible third set of remains and the criminal investigation.

"There is absolutely nothing that we are aware of in their personal lives or business lives of the individuals involved that would give rise to anything of this nature," said attorney Steve Gizzi.

As KTVU first reported, investigators had canvassed the Benicia neighborhood where the family lived, asking questions about the couple's cars and relationship.

Neighbor Steve Dean said he is devastated by what appears to be a tragic outcome.

"They were hardworking and took good care of their kids, they did everything possible to try and give them the best of everything," said Dean, who lives across the street from the family.

Investigators have not yet revealed the cause of the deaths or how the fire started. 

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