Steven Walter Pladl, 43, who reportedly impregnated his biological daughter, is accused of murdering her, their infant child, and her adoptive father before he committed suicide. The tragic ending comes just two months after Steven and his daughter Katie Pladl, 20, were both charged with incest.
In a 911 call placed Thursday, Steven’s mother pleaded for help after her son admitted to killing 7-month-old Bennett. Authorities in three states are working together to unravel the chain of events.
It is believed that Steven first killed Bennett after picking him up from his mother’s residence in Cary, North Carolina on Wednesday night. Steven then went to New Milford, Connecticut, where he shot Katie and her adoptive father, Anthony Fusco, dead. After the gruesome murders, he drove across the state line to Dover, New York, where he ultimately killed himself.
According to the New York Daily News, Steven told his mother that Katie broke up with him over the phone which could be the motive behind the killing spree.
The two married in July of 2017 in a secret lakeside ceremony when Katie was pregnant with Bennett. They have only known each other for a year because Katie was put up for adoption when she was born in 1998. After a brief reunion in June of 2016, Steven separated from Katie’s biological mother, Alyssa, and began an incestuous affair with their daughter.
Alyssa discovered the forbidden relationship after reading the diary of Katie’s younger sister. In her entry, the sister revealed that Steven asked her to refer to Katie as her “stepmother.”
The middle child further wrote, “Katie is pregnant. Dad says they feel like couples. Did they get a little too drunk that night? My dad is a slut.”
The two were arrested earlier this year, and while Steven was released on bond, he was ordered to stay in Virginia and sever his contact with his daughter. Katie was also released from jail after posting a bond. She was directed to stay with her adoptive parents in New York.
Steven’s lawyer, Rick Friedman, told WNCN that no one foresaw the multi-state murders.
“This is a terrible tragedy that nobody foresaw. I really believe that if the judges or the prosecutor or the defense attorneys in this case had any clue that the minor child or anyone would be harmed there would not be a bond set for any of the parties. This is a tragedy for everyone involved. We are all heartbroken.”
In February, Alyssa told the Daily Mail that she waited for a long time to have a relationship with Katie only for Steven to ruin it. She blames Steven for brainwashing and seducing Katie.
The Pladl Family Timeline
1998: Katie is born but overwhelmed by the pressure of being a mom at 17, Alyssa hopes adoption will give her firstborn a better chance in life.
2015: Katie sends a casual message to Alyssa on Facebook, but she disregards it. Alyssa, after all, doesn’t know her adoptive name.
June 2016: Katie contacts Steven instead through a genealogy website. Steven and Alyssa realize who she was. Within weeks, Katie meets her biological parents.
August 2016: Katie moves in with her biological parents in Virginia.
November 2016: Steven and Alyssa separate. Alyssa leaves the house, and Steven starts sleeping on the floor of Katie’s room.
May 2017: Alyssa discovers the affair after reading her younger daughter’s journal. Authorities interview the estranged couple’s two remaining daughters.
July 2017: Steven and Katie secretly marry. Katie’s adoptive parents and Steven’s mother attend the lakeside ceremony.
September 2017: Katie gives birth to Bennett.
January 2018: Henrico County police arrest Steven and Katie at their Knightdale home.
April 11, 2018: Steven picks up Bennett from his mom’s home, saying he’ll return her to Katie. Katie has full custody of their son.
April 12, 2018 at 8:40 a.m.: Steven is found dead in Dover, New York. Katie and her adoptive father’s lifeless bodies are found in New Milford, Connecticut.
April 12, 2018 at 9:00 a.m.: Steven’s mother calls 911 to ask authorities to check on Bennett. She reports receiving a distraught call from Steven warning her not to go home because he killed his son. The 7-month-old is later found dead.