911 call: ‘My son just called me and he told me ... he killed his baby’
Cary police have released the 911 call from a woman saying her son confessed to killing his 7-month-old baby and his wife, who was also his daughter.
"My son just called me and he told me ... he killed his baby," said the mother of Steven Pladl, according to a 911 call released by Cary police.
“I just got off the phone just a couple minutes ago, and he told me to call the police, that I shouldn't go over there... He said he put a key under the front mat, a key to get into the house,” she told the 911 operator, who asked how the baby was killed.
“I didn't ask him. I didn't ask him, I didn't want to know,” she said.
“His wife broke up with him over the phone yesterday. ... He killed his wife. He killed her father. I can’t even believe this is happening,” she told the operator.
Bennett was last seen alive on Wendesday night, Knightdale police said.
Steven Pladl picked up baby Bennett from his mother, who lives in Cary and had custody of the child, on Wednesday night.
Steven Pladl asked to take Bennett back to his home in Knightdale, telling his mother he and Bennett were going to Skype with Katie Pladl that evening, but later he told his mother over the phone he was taking the baby to Katie Pladl who was in New York, police said.
On Thursday around 7 a.m., Steven Pladal called his mother to let her know he and Bennett were almost in New York. At 8:45 am., he called her again and told her he had just killed Katie Pladl and her adoptive father. He also told her he had killed Bennett the night before and had left him inside the home in Knightdale.
His mother 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.
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 shot and killed Katie Pladl and Fusco with an assault-style weapon, similar to an AR-15, New Milford Police Chief Shawn Boyle said during a news conference Friday morning.
Steven Pladl was then found dead Thursday of an apparent suicide in Dover, N.Y., according to police. Police found his car around 9:15 a.m. Thursday, Boyle said.
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.
Both 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.
Both were released from jail on bond. Steven Pladl was allowed to return to North Carolina but was banned from contacting Katie Pladl, who returned to New York to live with her adoptive family, according to court documents obtained by CBS17.
"This is a terrible tragedy that nobody foresaw. I really believe that if the judges or the prosecutor or the defense attorneys in this case had any clue that the minor child or anyone would be harmed there would not be a bond set for any of the parties," lawyer Rick Friedman told CBS17.
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.
After reading the journal of her 11-year-old, Alyssa Pladl called Steven Pladl in May 2017 and asked if he had gotten Katie Pladl pregnant, to which he answered yes, according to court documents.
Steven Pladl said he planned on marrying Katie after his divorce from Alyssa Pladl was finalized, court documents show, and threatened to leave the state with Katie if Alyssa Pladl revealed his intentions to anyone.
Both children reported that Katie Pladl had moved into Steven Pladl’s bedroom and slept in the same bed as her, court documents show. They also said that their father told them they were no longer allowed to call Katie as their sister, but instead to refer to her as their step mother, court documents show.
No one at the beige, two-story home
There was no one at the beige, two-story home on Earlston Court where police found Bennett Pladl dead, early Friday afternoon.
Neighbors who live on the cul de sac were still shocked by the news that the seven-month-old boy had been killed and were even more stunned when they learned that the child's father was responsible for his death, and the death of its mother, before taking his own life.
Why would you kill a little baby?" asked Ronnie Hogg, a retired salesman who has lived in the neighborhood with his wife June for the past nine years.
"That baby had no idea what was going on, or how it happened."
Hogg, 66, said he was leaving his home for the store Thursday morning just after 9 am, when police swarmed the cul de sac.
The retired salesman knew that Steven and Katie Pladl had been arrested in January on incest charges. He also knew that their child was the fruit of that unlawful union.
"I thought maybe something had gone wrong with the baby because of that," he said.
But then he saw police encircle the home with yellow tape and later learned the child had been found dead inside of the home.
Hogg said the couple were friendly.
"There was never no trouble, never no police coming around, never no commotion."
Hogg also remembered seeing Steven Pladl's mother stop by with the baby.
The retired salesman said Steven Pladl was released from jail soon after his arrest and was a familiar sight going back and forth on his motorcycle. But Katie Pladl never returned to the home after her arrest.
"I thought she was still in jail," he said.
Someone had placed a bouquet of flowers at the end of the concrete driveway where the Pladls lived. A gray Acura sedan covered with pollen and dried leaves was parked in the front yard.
A brown welcome mat at the front door of the plain wooden porch read, "Stay Away."
Hogg mused about the couple's relationship to their child.
"He was the baby's father and grandfather," Hogg said about Steven Pladl. "She was the mother, and what, the baby's aunt?"