The North Carolina man accused of leaving his marriage for his biological daughter, who he later impregnated and married, is now suspected of murdering her, their baby and her adoptive father before killing himself.
Police believe Steven Pladl, 45, committed the triple murder-suicide that spanned several states over the past week.
“This is a tragedy for everyone involved. We are all heartbroken,” Pladl's attorney Rick Friedman told WNCN-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Police first found Pladl's 20-year-old daughter, Katie Pladl, and her adoptive father, 56-year-old Anthony Fusco, shot dead in Connecticut. Both were found buckled up in a black pickup truck near an intersection in New Milford. The driver’s side window had been smashed, according to the News-Times in Danbury, Connecticut.
Police said the body of Steven Pladl was found shortly afterward in New York. He died of a gunshot wound.
Hours after those deaths were discovered, 7-month-old Bennet - the son of Steven and Katie - was found dead in the couple's Earlston Court, North Carolina home. It's not clear how the child died.
Police are still putting together a timeline for the slaughter, but said they believe Steven killed all three victims before turning a gun on himself.
Cops were tipped off to the deaths by Steven's mother, who called 911 Thursday morning, right before the bodies were found.
"My son just called me and, ah, he told me he.. oh my God. He killed his baby and he's in the house," the mother told 911 dispatchers according to WNCN-TV. She wasn’t identified.
The mother said Steven's daughter/wife had broken up with him over the phone the day before.
"She’s in New York and he told me he was on his way and after bringing the baby to her and then he was coming back," she said.
In November 2017, Katie and Steven were arrested and charged with incest with adult and contributing to delinquency. Incest between adults conviction can lead to up to five years behind bars and contributing to delinquency can tack on an extra year. Both were released on $1 million bonds each. Steven was court-ordered to stay away from Katie.
Steven and his former wife had Katie in 1998. She was adopted by another family and lived out of state. But on her 18th birthday, she contacted Steven and her mother in hopes of reconnecting. She soon moved to their home in August 2016 and just months later, Steven and his wife separated.
In September 2017, Katie and Steven gave birth to Bennet. The below photograph is from Katie's Instagram, showing her marrying her father while she was pregnant.
[Photos: Wake County Sheriff]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.