Police: Dad in incest case killed daughter, infant son and adoptive father

Police: Dad in incest case killed daughter, infant son and adoptive father
Steven Pladl and his adult biological daughter, Katie Pladl (Source: Henrico Police)

(WWBT) - Knighdale police say the boy of a Henrico couple accused of incest was last seen alive around 8 p.m. on Wednesday when his father picked him up.

Steven Pladl, 45, asked to take Bennett Pladl, 7 months old, back to his home in Knightdale, telling his mother he and the baby were going to Skype with Katie Pladl - the baby's mother and Steven's biological daughter - that evening.

Just before midnight on Wednesday evening, police said Steven called his mother and informed her he was taking the baby to see Katie in New York. Police said the two spoke again around 7 a.m. on Thursday, and Steven told his mother that he and the baby were almost in New York.

Knightdale police said around 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, Steven spoke to his mother on the phone the final time, telling her that he had just killed Katie and her adoptive father, Anthony Fusco. According to police, Steven then told his mother that he had killed Bennett and left him inside the home. His mother then called 911.

Bennett Pladl was found dead Thursday at the North Carolina home of Steven Pladl and his daughter Katie, who were both accused of incest in Henrico. Steven and Katie were Bennett's parents.

The investigation on Thursday began on Route 55, where a man and woman were found dead inside a truck that had New York license plates, according to WFSB.

"We located two victims or the deceased on scene, information developed by witnesses to identify a suspect vehicle," said New Milford Police Lt. Lawrence Ash.

A call was put out to be on the lookout for a blue Honda Odyssey with a North Carolina license plate.

A probation officer across the state line heard the announcement and spotted the van on Dog Tail Road in the town of Wingdale, New York.

"It was found down the road here on the right shoulder between the roadway and the river. The vehicle was running. It was unknown who was inside so we brought in Emergency Police Services," said New York State Police Capt. John Ryan.

Steven Pladl was found dead inside the van with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"[Thursday's] events were sad and devastating," said Chief Capps. "We may never understand the mindset or motives of Steven Pladl, but we do know his actions have shattered the lives of countless people. We pray the families affected are able to find some measure of comfort and peace as they work to cope with this senseless tragedy."

In February, Steven Pladl was granted bond in a Henrico court and ordered not to have contact with his daughter. Jail records indicated that Katie Pladl was also released, but it's not clear when.

The Pladls were living in North Carolina when they were arrested and extradited back to Henrico County.

Police said the incest crime happened at their home in the West End. It's a home they shared with his ex-wife Alyssa - who is also Katie's mother - and two younger sisters.

According to court documents, the incestuous relationship and pregnancy were revealed in journal entries written by Steven Pladl's 11-year-old daughter. The affidavit in a protective order shows the girl's mother Alyssa, who is also Katie's mother, discovered the journal and turned it over to police.

According to an interview with the Daily Mail, Katie's parents gave her up for adoption, but Katie sought them out once she turned 18. Katie lived with the family, including two younger sisters, at a home on Locustgrove Court in Henrico's West End.

Court documents say the 11-year-old sister wrote she is "...scared of her father and refers to him as 'Satan.'"  She said she had "...walked into his bedroom and found dad and her sister (Katie) in bed together."

Bennett Pladl had been in the custody of his paternal grandmother since Steven and Katie were arrested in January, Knightdale police said on Friday. The two were arrested out of incest charges from Henrico.

Knightdale police are not releasing Bennett Pladl's cause of death, but Chief Capps said the child did not sustain any noticeable injuries or trauma.

"The pending autopsy exam and toxicology report are expected to shed more details on the manner and cause of death," Knightdale police said.

No criminal charges are expected to be filed in this case.

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