The story of Steven Pladl and his daughter-turned-wife Katie Pladl came to an incredibly tragic end with the murder of not only Katie, but also her son and adoptive father. The murderer is Steven Pladl. While there were warning signs during their brief, incestuous relationship, no one thought this story would end so horribly.
Background on the Case
When we originally brought you the story of Steven and Katie Pladl (then Fusco), the father and his biological daughter had been arrested for incest, adultery, and contributing to delinquency.
But how did all of that happen?
Katie was adopted as a baby. When she turned 18 years old, she searched for her biological parents. In 2016, she found her biological parents Steven and Alyssa Pladl.
Eventually, Katie moved in with the couple and their two children.
However, it was not really a happy ending for the reunited family.
Alyssa and Steven’s marriage was falling apart. After their biological daughter moved in with them, Alyssa noted that Steven sometimes slept on the floor of Katie’s room. An inappropriately deeper relationship developed between the two, leading Alyssa to move out with her two youngest children.
Katie and Steven went on to get married. They had a son together, Bennett, despite their own biological relationship.
What many didn’t know at the time was Alyssa’s side of the story.
Alyssa Pladl’s Story
According to Alyssa, she met Steven on the Internet when he was 20 and she was 15.
Alyssa became pregnant when she was 17 and gave birth to Steven’s daughter at the age of 18. The child, Katie, was given up for adoption. However, before they gave her up, Alyssa claims Steven may have been physically abusing the baby.
Alyssa and Steven later married. They had two more daughters.
But it was not a happy life. Alyssa has alleged that Steven was emotionally and verbally abusive for years. The alleged abuse eventually led to the dissolution of their marriage.
Alyssa told the Associated Press, “I was always on eggshells, whatever his mood was, everybody knew, and that mood was often not happy, a lot of yelling, a lot of things smashed in the house, in front of our kids.”
She added that it wasn’t until she saw her 11-year-old daughter’s diary entry about Steven telling her and her sister to refer to Katie as their stepmother that she knew what was going on. It was also when she learned that Katie was pregnant with Steven’s child.
She claims that Steven had a fascination with guns, with a stash of firearms at his disposal. With this and the alleged abuse in mind, Alyssa obtained protective orders against her estranged husband for herself and her children.
It appeared as though Steven’s anger issues and access to guns were a time bomb just waiting to go off.
Steven Murders His Wife, Father-in-Law, and Child
When Steven and Katie were released after being arrested on incest charges, Katie went back to live with her adoptive parents, Tony and Kelly Fusco. Bennett was left in the care of Steven’s mother, Grace. It appears that Steven stayed with his mother in Knightdale, North Carolina.
Things seemed to return to normal until the morning of April 12, 2018.
That morning, Katie and Tony headed out of the driveway on their way to Katie’s adoptive grandmother’s home in New Milford, Connecticut, as she did twice a week.
Video surveillance footage shows Steven in a minivan, pulling out close behind them.
According to police, he pulled up beside Tony’s car, opened the van door, and opened fire.
Steven fired multiple rounds from an AR-15 style rifle, hitting both Tony and Katie in the chest.
He then drove to Dover, New York, and shot himself.
Not too long after the shooting, police in Knightdale were called to an address at 106 Earlston Court. Steven’s mother had called 911 to report that her grandson Bennett was dead.
As of this writing, the cause of Bennett’s death has not been released. However, officials stated that there were no injuries or signs of trauma on the child, indicating that the death might have been quick.
Steven told his mother not to go and look for the child herself, as he didn’t wish for her to see the dead body.
Steven Pladl’s Motives
While we may never truly know Steven’s motives for these horrific crimes, his mother’s 911 call may shed some light on at least one of his possible triggers.
In the call, Grace says that Steven told her that his wife Katie had broken up with him over the phone the day before. Just before Grace called police, Steven had called her and “said he was on his way to give [the baby] because [Katie] was splitting up with him.”
If what Grace said was true, if Katie was splitting up with Steven, this could have been a trigger. At that point, Steven would have lost everything: his former marriage; children with Alyssa; new wife; and son.
The Dead Are Buried
Meanwhile, Tony Fusco, as well as Katie and Bennett Pladl, have been laid to rest.
Fusco’s funeral was attended by members of the of the Coast Guard, with whom he previously served.
In her obituary, Katie’s love of art was celebrated: “Katie created beautiful art throughout her life and was in the process of pursuing a career using these talents and passions.”
Katie’s adoptive aunt, Susan Mallery, left a message on her obituary with her version of the day Katie came into her adoptive family’s lives:
“Katie Rose I remember the joy your parents had the day you became theirs, that was the day the family became complete. Nicole was so happy to be a big sister and that she got to name her new baby sister. A beautiful strong young woman and mother,I am proud to be your Aunt. Love you always. [sic]”