KNIGHTDALE, N.C. — A North Carolina man who was accused of committing incest with his adult daughter killed the young woman, their baby and himself on Thursday.
Steven Pladl, 42, was to have appeared in court on April 23 to face the felony charge. He and 20-year-old Katie Fusco had been arrested in January after officials learned that the two had a baby together and were “married.” Police took DNA samples from all three under a search warrant.
According the reports, Fusco had been placed up for adoption by the Pladls as an infant, but when she turned 18, she contacted her biological parents and said that she would like to connect with them. Fusco moved into their Virginia home in August 2016.
However, three months later, her mother moved out of the house, and the following year, Mrs. Pladl allegedly learned of a journal in which one of her other children said that Fusco was going to have a baby and that Pladl had told them to refer to her as their stepmother.
According to police documents, Pladl’s wife confronted him about the matter, and he admitted to impregnating his daughter, advising that the two planned to marry once the biological parents divorced.
The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that Fusco had posted a photo to Instagram in July of her “wedding” to Pladl. Fusco gave birth to a baby boy named Bennett, and the two moved to North Carolina.
In January, both Pladl and Fusco were charged with felony incest and misdemeanor contributing to the abuse or neglect of a minor, and were released on bail after a time.
In the meantime, Bennett was placed in the care of Pladl’s mother, and Fusco went back to New York, where she had been brought up with her adoptive family. She called Pladl last week to end the relationship.
Pladl’s mother told police that on Wednesday, Pladl took Bennett from her care and phoned Fusco and her adoptive family to advise that he would be traveling to see them with the baby. Pladl had been prohibited under the bond terms from having any contact with his daughter, according to the Washington Post.
The next morning, he called his mother to tell her that Fusco had broken up with him over the phone, and that he killed her and her adoptive father, Anthony, in Connecticut. When asked about the child, Pladl said he killed Bennett back in North Carolina, and instructed her to call 911.
Pladl’s body was found later that day in New York.
“Obviously we’re very saddened by today’s events,” Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capps said during a press conference. “Events like this are not common in our community. Unfortunately, they’re not uncommon in society. Like you, we’re trying to make sense of all the factors that led up to this senseless taking of life.”
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Job 25:4 also asks, “How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?”