Knightdale police investigate death of baby connected with murder-suicide of parents who had incestuous relationship
Police believe a 7-month-old baby found dead at a Knightdale home Thursday morning was killed before the murder-suicide of the child's parents, who had an incestuous relationship.
Katie Rose Pladl, 20, was the biological daughter of Steven Walter Pladl, 45, who was also the father of the baby, Bennett.
Steven Pladl picked up Bennett from his mother, who lives in Knightdale and had custody of the child, on Wednesday night. She called 911 at about 9 a.m. Thursday and asked police to check on the baby at 106 Earlston Court, Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capps said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
The baby was found dead, and no one else was in the home.
Police believe Steven Pladl killed the baby, drove through the night and fatally shot Katie Pladl and her adoptive father, 56-year-old Anthony Fusco, in New Milford, Conn.
Steven Pladl was then found dead Thursday of an apparent suicide in Dover, N.Y., according to police.
Capps said his department began receiving calls from law enforcement in Connecticut and New York shortly after the baby was found.
"This is not common in our community," Capps said during the news conference. "Unfortunately it is not uncommon in our society."
Steven and Katie Pladl came to the attention of Knightdale police on Jan. 4, when a detective with the Henrico County, Va., police notified the department about warrants involving incest.
The couple were arrested Jan. 18 and charged with being fugitives from justice in Virginia, where they were wanted on charges of incest with an adult, adultery and contributing to delinquency.
Katie Pladl was born to Alyssa Yvonne Pladl and Steven Pladl on Jan. 29, 1998. She was adopted by a family out of state and legally renamed Katie Rose Fusco.
Two years ago, when Katie Pladl turned 18, she reached out to her biological parents through social media and "indicated a desire to get to know her birth parents," according to search warrants filed in Wake County in January.
Steven Pladl was married and had two other children, ages 6 and 11, when he connected with Katie Pladl, according to court documents. He and his wife separated in November 2016, and the woman told police her husband had been sleeping on the floor of Katie Pladl's room.
She also told police that Steven Pladl had told their younger children to refer to Katie Pladl as "their step-mom." She said she called her husband on the phone and "specifically asked him if he had gotten Katie pregnant, and he said yes," according to the search warrant.
Henrico County police also interviewed Steven Pladl's younger children, who told them "that the father of Katie's baby was their father and he intended to marry her."
Bennett was apparently born before the couple's arrest in January. The search warrants do not indicate when they moved from Virginia to Knightdale.
"Although investigations in each jurisdiction will continue, police say there is no active threat to public safety," according to a news release from Knightdale police Thursday. "Authorities are no longer seeking a suspect in this case."