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.
Meanwhile, authorities 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 driver’s-side window had been smashed in, and the bodies were still strapped in their seat belts.
A 42-year-old North Carolina man has been charged with incest and adultery for allegedly having a child with his 20-year-old biological daughter
The suspect was found shortly afterward in Dover, about 16 miles away, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
Police did not identify the suspect or his victims. But 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.
Authorities in Cary, N.C., released the tape of a 9-1-1 call Pladl’s mother placed Thursday morning. Her son had called her a few minutes earlier, she said, saying he had killed his child, his wife and his wife’s father.
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.
News reports also said 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.
New Milford police have not provided details of the shootings in Gaylordsville, but witnesses said the shooter might have used a semi-automatic weapon.
Jeff Weinzievl, who lives near the intersection, said he was feeding his horses around 8:40 a.m. when he heard six to eight shots from what he believed to be a semi-automatic weapon.
“It sound like he emptied out his clip,” Weinzievl said. “It scared the bejesus out of the horses. A lot of people hunt out here and we’re used to hearing gunshots, but I knew right away something was wrong with this. It was quite scary.”
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.
Britain’s Daily Mail published an extensive story about the incest case in February, based largely on interviews with Alyssa Pladl, Katie’s biological mother and Steven Pladl’s former wife.
In the story, Alyssa Pladl said she had always hoped to reunite with the daughter she gave up for adoption, and was at first happy when Katie joined their family, which now included two younger siblings.
But she was disturbed that her husband insisted on sleeping on the floor in Katie’s room, and horrified to read in her 11-year-old daughter’s journal early in 2017 that Katie was pregnant and Steven was the father.
The 11-year-old described her father as “Satan” and said the baby would be a “half-demon,” the Daily Mail reported.
Excerpts from the journal included in the Daily Mail story show the 11-year-old’s revulsion at her father.
“He’ll go to hell, but he won’t be the one getting tortured, he’ll be the one torturing people,” she wrote.
(c)2018 The News-Times (Danbury, Conn.)
Visit The News-Times (Danbury, Conn.) at www.newstimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.