NEW MILFORD, Conn. — Four people are dead in three states after a deadly crime spree, at the root of which is an incestuous relationship.
New Milford police said Steven Pladl killed an infant he fathered with his own daughter Katie Pladl, then killed his daughter and her adoptive father, Anthony Fusco.
In a news conference on Friday, Police Chief Shawn Boyne revealed that Steven Pladl, used an assault-type rifle to kill Katie Pladl and Fusco.
Police said Steven Pladl picked up his baby from his mother in North Carolina on Wednesday night. “My son just called me and told me, oh god, you know, he killed his baby and he’s in the house,” said Steven Pladl’s mother in a frantic 911 call.
His mother told police that he was headed north to find the baby’s mother, Katie Pladl. Steven Pladl told his mother that he and the baby were going to communicate with Katie Pladl through Skype.
“His wife broke up with him over the phone,” Steven Pladl’s mother said in the 911 call. “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.”
However, police reported that the 7-month-old baby was found in Steven Pladl’s empty North Carolina home. The cause of death has not been released.
Boyne said Steven Pladl had contact with his daughter’s adoptive New York family around 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
Steven Pladl drove nine hours and 500 miles north to the Gaylordsville section of New Milford.
Around 8:40 a.m. on Thursday, Katie Pladl and Fusco, were found shot and killed inside a Toyota pickup truck at the intersection of Routes 55 and 7 in New Milford.
“A vehicle bearing North Carolina registration plates pulled up alongside their vehicle and discharged several rounds from an assault-type rifle into the passenger compartment of the victim’s vehicle,” Boyne said.
Emergency calls released on Friday revealed that an off-duty firefighter from New York witnessed the shooting. He was the first to call 911 and report what happened.
“The car pulled up, went around him and shot him,” the caller said. “A whole clip into his head.”
The firefighter reported both people in the vehicle were dead and that the suspect was driving a light blue minivan. “It was definitely an out-of-state plate heading into New Milford,” the caller said.
Shortly afterward, Steven Pladl was found dead in the minivan across the state line in Dover, NY in what police suspect was a suicide. They believe he shot himself. The scene was five miles from the shooting scene in New Milford.
“[Thursday’s] events were sad and devastating,” said Chief Lawrence Capps, Knightdale, NC Police Department. “We may never understand the mindset or motives of Steven Pladl, but we do know his actions have shattered the lives of countless people.”
Police said Katie and Steven Pladl were father and daughter. They were recently charged with incest and adultery after they reportedly married and had the child in 2017.
According to warrants, Katie Pladl was born in 1998 to Steven Pladl and her mother, then legally adopted out of state. When Katie Pladl turned 18, she used social media to reach out to her biological parents, the documents said.
The warrants said Steven Pladl left his wife to be with his daughter. They lived in Virginia and eventually North Carolina. Their child was born in September.
After the father and daughter’s arrest for incest, the baby was placed in the custody of Steven Pladl’s mother, Knightdale police said.
“He killed his wife, he killed her father,” Steven Pladl’s mother said in the call. “I can’t even believe this is happening.”
Anyone with information about what happened is asked to call New Milford police.
The FBI is also investigating.