Steven Pladl and Katie Pladl
Steven Pladl and Katie Pladl Wake County Sheriff’s Office

An American man had killed his wife, who was also his daughter, and their 7-month-old son after she broke up with him. Steven Pladl from North Carolina then took his own life, according to an emergency call.

Pladl, 42, is believed to have killed 20-year-old Katie Pladl, his biological daughter whom he and his ex-wife gave for adoption as an infant, after she broke up with him. He reportedly also killed his and Katie’s 7-month-old son, Bennett Pladl, as well as Katie’ adoptive father, 56-year-old Anthony Fusco.

Pladl’s mother called 911, the US emergency number, on Thursday morning after receiving a disturbing call from him. In the 911 call, the mother said her son admitted opening fire on Katie and her adoptive father in New Milford, New York. She asked officers to check on the wellbeing of her grandson. The police found the baby dead and alone in the house on the same day. It wasn’t revealed how and when he had died, though it is believed that Pladl killed the baby before travelling to New Milford to kill his daughter.

Katie and Fusco’s bodies were found inside a pickup truck with the window shot out. New Milford Police Chief Shawn Boyne said on Friday that Katie and Fusco were running errands when they were fatally shot. A surveillance video from a parking lot of a neighbouring liquor store shows that Pladl driving at the time of the shooting.

Pladl apparently followed the victims until they reached a stop sign. According to eyewitnesses, he pulled his minivan alongside Fusco’s truck and then he fired “several rounds” using an assault type riffle into the passenger’s side of the vehicle. Katie and her adoptive father sustained “multiple gunshot wounds to the upper torso and head,” Boyne was quoted by the Hartford Courant.

Pladl was also found dead in his minivan in the nearby Dover, New York. It is believed his gunshot wounds were self-inflicted.

Father-daughter incest charges

Both Pladl and Katie were charged with incest charges in January after it had emerged that the two started a sexual relationship despite being father and daughter by blood. After they were both released on bond, Katie was sent to live with her adoptive parents in New York. They were barred from having contact with each other. Their son’s custody was given to Pladl’s mother.

Pladl and his then-wife, Alyssa, put Katie up for adoption when she was born in 1998. When Katie turned 18, she reconnected to her biological parents via social media. She moved to North Carolina to live with the Pladls and their two young daughters, Katie’s biological sisters.

But then Pladl and Katie began a sexual relationship behind Alyssa’s back. Katie then became pregnant with her father’s baby. Alyssa learnt of her pregnancy by reading a journal of one of her younger children. Pladl told Alyssa that he would be divorcing her to marry Katie. He also told his children that they should refer to Katie as their stepmother, not their sister. Katie gave birth to Bennett in September 2017, and then she took Pladl’s last name. Alyssa told the Daily Mail in February that Pladl and Katie got married in July last year.

After they were arrested in January and ordered not to contact each other, Katie called Pladl on Wednesday to split from him. The phone call is believed to have driven Pladl to commit murder and suicide.