Infant found dead at home where father, daughter accused of incest had lived

Steven and Katie Pladl


NEW MILFORD – A North Carolina man who fathered a child with his biological daughter shot and killed her and her adoptive father in Gaylordsville early Thursday, then took his own life in Dover, N.Y., as police closed in on him.

Police visiting the man’s home outside Raleigh found the body of the child, who was also dead.

New Milford police said they found the bodies of a man and a woman, both dead of gunshot wounds, in a black pickup truck near the intersection of Routes 7 and 55.

The suspect was found shortly afterward in Dover, about 16 miles away, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

Police in Knightdale, N.C., identified him as Steven Walter Pladl, 45, the slain woman as his biological daughter, Katie Rose Pladl, 20, and the slain man as her adoptive father, Anthony Fusco, 56.

Pladl’s mother also said he had called the night before to report that he and his wife had broken up, and that he was heading to New York with their child.

Knightdale police said the body of 7-month-old Bennett Pladl was found in a home belonging to his father, but did not say how the boy died.

According to Raleigh-area news reports, Steven and Katie Pladl had been charged with incest in February. They had told authorities they planned to marry.

Katie Pladl was adopted at an early age by a family in Dutchess County, N.Y., and graduated from Dover High School. When she turned 18, she found her birth parents through social media.

She went south to meet them, the reports said, and eventually became involved in a relationship with her father, who divorced her mother to join her.

Witnesses said the shooter might have used a semi-automatic weapon.

As a precaution, the nearby Sherman School was placed in a lockdown.

New Milford police notified area police agencies to be on the lookout for the suspect’s vehicle, described as a light blue mini-van registered in North Carolina.

The car was spotted by a Dutchess County probation officer on Dog Tail Corners Road, east of Berkshire Road in the town of Dover.

Police from the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and New Milford police converged on the vehicle, which was parked with the engine running on the shoulder next to the Ten Mile River. The suspect apparently took his own life as police approached.



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