The Case of Katie and Steven Pladl


Katie Pladl (18) and her biological father Steven Pladl (42) pictured together in 2016

The story of Katie and Steven Pladl is one of the wildest cases I have ever covered. The disturbing and tragic story has caused a lot of discussion on the case’s tumblr post. While the post covers the overall story, this timeline breaks down the details in chronological order. 

1995: 20-year-old Steven Pladl meets 15-year-old Alyssa Garcia on the Internet.

January 1998: 17-year-old Alyssa gives birth to a baby girl fathered by Steven. They name the little girl Denise. 

Steven and Alyssa’s baby girl (source)

1998 cont.: According to Alyssa, Steven was abusive towards their infant daughter. Alyssa alleged that Steven would pinch Denise “until her body was left black and blue. The cruel father would also stuff Katie in a cooler to drown out her crying, preventing Alyssa from freeing the terrified infant until she was on the verge of suffocating.” (DailyMail). Despite this, though, Alyssa stays with Steven and eventually ends up marrying him. 

1998 cont.: Alyssa and Steven place Denise up for adoption. She is adopted by Anthony and Kelly Fusco. The baby’s new name is Katie Fusco, and she is moved to Anthony and Kelly’s home in Dutchess County, New York. 

Town in New York, where Katie moved as an infant after being adopted by the Fuscos

2007: Almost 10 years after giving birth to Katie, Alyssa gives birth to her and Steven’s second child–a baby girl. Alyssa stated that they were “more grown up and ready” to have children at this stage in life.

2012: Alyssa gives birth to their third daughter.

2016: Katie, now 18 years old, grows curious about her biological family. She tracks down Alyssa, now 37, and Steven, now 42, on social media. The estranged parents and daughter begin to correspond.

Katie Fusco at age 18 (source)

June 2016: Katie graduates from high school. She has plans to enroll in the local community college and then eventually transfer to SUNY Purchase to study digital advertising.

August 2016: After continuing to correspond with her birth parents, Katie’s plans change. Instead of enrolling in college, she opts to move to Henrico, Virginia to live with Steven, Alyssa, and their other two daughters. 

Alyssa Pladl and Katie Pladl reunited in 2016 – pictured together with Alyssa and Steven’s two younger daughters (source)

September 2016: Steven begins sleeping on Katie’s bedroom floor each night. According to Alyssa, she and Steven had already been sleeping in separate beds for months prior. 

Sept-Nov. 2016: Steven and Katie begin a sexual relationship.

November 2016: Alyssa moves out of the home and files for divorce from Steven. They split custody of the two younger children. Alyssa allegedly had suspicions about Steven’s relationship with Katie but was not completely aware of how far it had gone. 

Late 2016-Early 2017: Steven instructs his two younger daughters to begin referring to Katie as their stepmom rather than their sister. At some point, Katie learns she is pregnant with Steven’s child.

Katie and Steven in 2017, while Katie was pregnant (source

May 23rd, 2017: Alyssa reads her 11-year-old daughter’s diary after a visit with Steven and Katie. From there, Alyssa learns that her ex-husband was engaging in a sexual relationship with their oldest biological daughter. She also learns that Katie is pregnant with Steven’s baby. After confronting Steven about it, Alyssa decides to contact the police. 

Pages from the diary of Alyssa and Steven’s 11-year-old, describing Steven’s relationship with Katie. Click to enlarge. (source)

May 31st, 2017: Henrico County police officers interview Steven and Alyssa’s two other children. No arrests are made.

Summer 2017: Katie and Steven move to Knightdale, North Carolina. 

July 20th, 2017: Katie and Steven get married in Maryland. Their marriage was official; they were able to “legally” wed because they did not disclose their father-daughter relationship. Their wedding ceremony was complete with guests, including Steven’s parents and Katie’s adoptive parents. Katie’s adoptive parents reportedly felt there was “nothing they could do except support Katie.” (CBSnews)

Katie, Steven & family at their July 2017 wedding (dailymail)

September 1st, 2017: Katie gives birth to her father’s baby. They name the little boy Bennett. 

Katie with Bennett (2017)

November 29th, 2017: Henrico County police officers issue arrest warrants for Steven and Katie.

Late January 2018: Steven and Katie are arrested and charged with incest and adultery. They are later released on bond and ordered to have no-contact with one another. Katie moves back to New York with her adoptive parents. Steven’s mother gains custody of their son.

April 2018: Katie decides to end her relationship with Steven. Despite the no-contact order, Katie calls Steven to break-up with him.

April 11th, 2018: Steven picks up his and Katie’s baby from his mother’s house. He brings the baby back to his house, where he later suffocates him and leaves his body in a closet.

April 11th-12th, 2018: Steven drives through the night from North Carolina to New York.

April 12th, 2018: Steven waits outside of the home of Katie’s adoptive parents. He watched as Katie and her adoptive father left together in a vehicle. He followed the two as they drove from Wingdale to New Milford. While stopped at a stop sign between routes 7 and 55, Steven shot Katie and her adoptive father, killing them both, before turning the gun on himself.

Scene where Steven shot Anthony Fusco and Katie before turning the gun on himself

Unfortunately, this disturbing tale ended violently. An officer working the case stated, “we may never understand the mindset or motives of Steven Pladl, but we do know his actions have shattered the lives of countless people.”

Additionally, this case has brought more attention to a term called “genetic sexual attraction”, which is “used to describe the intense physical and emotional feelings that some people experience following restored contact between an adopted person and a close member of his or her birth family. Some people believe genetic attraction to be a delayed by-product of “missed bonding”. Believe it or not, Katie and Steven are not the first father-and-daughter couple to fall in love. A list of other similar cases can be found here. More information about GSA can be found here.


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