Warrant: Knightdale incest couple’s infant was found dead in bathroom closet

Wake County News

The infant born to a Knightdale father-daughter couple was found dead in an upstairs bathroom closet in the father’s Knightdale home, according to a Wake County search warrant.

Bennett Pladl, 7 months, had “no obvious signs of trauma” when he was found dead in the closet, the warrant says.

Bennett was the son of Steven Pladl, 45, and Katie Pladl, 20, who were a biological father-daughter married couple that had moved from Virginia to Knightdale in 2017.

RELATED: CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Moments before double-murder involving Knightdale incest couple

Bennett was found dead around 9 a.m. on April 12.

According to 911 calls made in Wake County by Steven’s mother, her son confessed to her that he killed Bennett and that he was going to New York to find his wife/daughter.

“My son just called me and, ah, he told me he.. oh my God.. He killed his baby and he’s in the house,” a woman, identified by police as Pladl’s mother, told dispatchers.

Police said Pladl’s mother had custody of the child, and that Steven picked up the baby from her Wednesday night.

“His wife broke up with him yesterday over the phone,” Steven’s mother said in a 911 recording. “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.”

TIMELINE: Knightdale incest couple

Authorities said Steven traveled overnight from his home at 106 Earlston Court in Knightdale to New Milford, Connecticut, and staked out the home where Katie was staying with her adoptive parents. It was there that Steven killed Katie and her adoptive father, 56-year-old Anthony Fusco, according to authorities.

“He killed his wife. He killed her father and I can’t even believe this is happening,” the mother told the dispatcher.

According to court documents, Katie was staying with her adoptive family in New York after she bonded out of jail in Virginia on incest charges.

Katie Rose Pladl was born in January 1998 to Steven Walter Pladl and her mother, and then legally adopted out of state.

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When Katie Pladl turned 18, she used social media to reach out to her biological parents and even moved in with the couple and their two children in their home outside of Richmond, Virginia, according to warrants. 

Steven and Katie’s child was born in September 2017.

In January, Steven and Katie Pladl were each charged with incest with adult, adultery, and contributing to delinquency after investigators said they had a child together. 

Pladl bonded out of jail in March, but was prohibited from having contact with Katie, according to court documents.

His bond was amended to allow him to return to North Carolina.

Just a few weeks later, he killed his son Bennett, investigators say.

About 20 minutes before Bennett’s body was discovered, Katie and Fusco were found dead, officials said.

RELATED: Police: Knightdale man used ‘assault-type weapon’ in incest case killings

Around 8:40 a.m. on April 12, 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.

Katie Pladl and Fusco were killed while sitting in a pickup truck at a stop sign, according to police there. Officials said Steven Pladl used an “assault-type weapon” similar to an AR-15.

An eyewitness to the shooting called 911 and said that a man shot the two in the head and neck from inside his vehicle, then left the scene.

“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.

Police there said Steven was the shooter and that after killing the two, he then killed himself in his car in Dover, New York.

The scene was five miles from the shooting scene in New Milford.

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