A father left his wife to marry his own daughter, but later on killed her, their baby, and himself after his daughter decided to end their marriage.
In 1995, Steven Pladl, 20 at the time, met a 15-year-old girl Alyssa Gracia on the internet.
Three years later, Alyssa became pregnant with Steven’s baby and gave birth to a girl named Denise in January 1998.
After giving birth, Alyssa said that Steven was abusive to their baby daughter, and revealed that he would pinch their baby until her body was left black and blue. But despite this abusive behavior, she stayed with Steven and ended up marrying him.
Because the couple was young and poor, they decided to put baby Denise up for adoption.
“It was so hard to give her up, but I wanted her to live and be happy,” Alyssa said.
Baby Denise was then adopted by new parents named Anthony and Kelly Fuso, where she was given a new name —Katie.
Katie was an aspiring artist at Dover High School for drawing comic strips, and she planned to attend college and pursue a career in digital advertising.
“A pen and something to draw on became a safe place for me,” Katie wrote in a blog post. “Ink became my weapon against rules and regulations, to be short, for me, a life without art is no life at all.”
When Katie turned 18 in January 2016, she became curious about her biological parents so she started tracking them down. She then found Alyssa and Steven on social media and messaged them and her parents were happy to reunite with her.
Katie moved in with her biological parents and her sisters in Henrico County, Virginia. However, things weren’t great with Steven and Alyssa at that time as they had already been sleeping in separate beds for months before she arrived.
“I was always on eggshells, whatever his mood was, everybody knew, and that mood was often not happy, a lot of yelling, a lot of things smashed in the house, in front of her kids,” Alyssa said.
Alyssa even told Katie that Steven abused her when she was a baby and that is why they had to give her up for adoption, but the daughter didn’t seem to be concerned.
According to Alyssa, Steven’s behavior completely changed after he met Katie. He began wearing skinny jeans and form-fitting shirts to look good and impress his own daughter, he even shaved his beard and let his hair grow long.
Six weeks after Katie moved in with them, Steven began sleeping on the floor in her room. When Alyssa confronted him of his strange behavior, he said it was none of her business and went out with Katie.
In November 2016, Alyssa moved out of the house and shared custody of her two children with Steven. She said she already had a bad feeling about his former husband and her daughter’s relationship but she had no idea how far it had gone.
In May 2017, Alyssa had confirmed the incestuous relationship, and about Katie’s pregnancy from her 11-year-old daughter’s journal. Her daughter also wrote that she and her sister were told by their father to refer to Katie as their stepmom and not their sister.
Alyssa then called Steven and asked: “Is Katie pregnant with your baby?”
Steven replied: “I thought you knew. We’re in love.”
Alyssa started cussing him out and said: “How could you? You’re sick! She’s a child.”
After the call, Alyssa immediately called the police, police officers interviewed Steven and Alyssa’s children, but no arrest was made.
Two months after Steven’s divorce from Alyssa was finalized, he married his daughter, Katie in Parkton, Maryland on July 20, 2017.
No one objected to their marriage because they lied on their application, saying they were unrelated.
Katie gave birth to her father’s baby and named the boy Bennett. The newlyweds moved to a house in Knightdale, North Carolina, but the happy times for the couple did not last long because they were arrested on incest charges in January 2018.
The two were released on bond and ordered to have no contact with one another. Steven’s mother was granted custody of baby Bennett, While Katie moved back with her foster parents.
Trying to move on with her life, Katie called Steven to end their relationship, but Steven did not take it lightly.
Before meeting Katie on April 11, 2018, Steven snatched baby Bennett from his mother’s house, brought him back to his place, suffocated him, and left the dead body in a closet.
Steven waited outside Katie’s foster home and watched her and her adoptive father leave together in a vehicle. He followed them and when they stopped at a stop sign, Steven went out of his car, shot Katie and her father, killing them both in an instant, before turning the gun on himself.
Steven’s mother called 911 and told the dispatcher that her son called her that he had killed the baby that was in her custody.
Up to this day, Alyssa still struggles to make sense of it all.
“I’m grieving. I’m sad. I’m upset, But I also want to have something good come out of this,” she said. “If it’s to get the truth out there, to open people’s eyes to incest.”