In 1998, Steven Pladl and his ex-wife made the decision to give up their daughter, Katie, for adoption. For 18 years, they heard nothing from her, and presumed that she was living happily elsewhere with her adoptive family. However, when the girl tracked down her parents through social media in 2016, Stephen’s previously non-existent relationship with his daughter suddenly became intimate, and the pair started living as a couple.
Now, just two years after their controversial reunion, both father and daughter have been discovered dead, along with their love child and Katie’s adoptive father.
The bodies of four people were discovered yesterday in connection with the apparent triple murder-suicide. At 8:40 a.m. in New Milford, Connecticut, officers found two bodies – that of Katie and her adoptive father, Anthony Fusco – in a pickup truck.
Shortly after, Steven Pladl was found dead in his minivan in Dover, New York.
His seven-month-old son, Bennett Pladl, was also found slain in Knightdale, North Carolina.
Police are still looking for a definitive motive behind the killings, but it appears as if Pladl murdered Katie, her adoptive father, and his own baby in retaliation to him and his daughter being arrested on incest charges back in January of this year..
The child – which was a product of Pladl and Katie’s incestuous relationship – was born in September 2017, not long after the pair had become reunited and Katie had moved into the Pladl family home. After the birth, the father-daughter couple intended to wed, but their plans were scuppered when somebody reported them to the police.
The investigation into the killings began after Pladl’s mother called police to report that she had received a disturbing phone call from him, and wanted someone to check on his house. When law enforcement arrived, they found the deceased infant alone on the premises.
“We’re trying to make sense of all the factors that led up to this senseless taking of life,” said Knightdale police Chief, Lawrence Capps.
Pladl’s lawyer for the incest case, Rick Friedman, said that he was shocked by the incident, and claimed that his client had seemed his usual self when they had last met only a month ago.
“This really bothers me a lot because nobody ever could have predicted this. If anybody had a remote idea anybody was in harm’s way there would have been no bond set,” he said. “There was just absolutely no prior notice anything would happen to these people.”.
After the father-daughter duo was released on bond awaiting their court trial, they were not supposed to have any contact with one another. It is not yet clear whether the young woman had any idea about what her father was planning.
They were due to appear in court on April 23rd, and could have potentially faced up to 10 years behind bars for their illegal relationship.
Regardless of the circumstances leading up to these senseless killings, this situation must be incredibly difficult for the family members of those murdered, and our thoughts go out to them at this time.