The man who impregnated his biological daughter before killing her, their infant son and himself in April was physically abusive toward the girl when she was an infant, his ex-wife said in a recent interview.
“I knew from the very beginning that I had to get Katie away from him to give her a chance in life,” Alyssa Pladl told DailyMailTV, explaining her decision to place Katie Pladl for adoption as a small child.
Katie and father Steven Pladl would later reunite. After Steven impregnated Katie, the couple was arrested in January on incest and related charges.
Of the 20-year-old Katie’s subsequent murder at the hands of Stephen Pladl, 45, Alyssa said, “Ultimately, Steve was just finishing off what he started 20 years earlier.”
According to Alyssa, when Katie was little, Steven would give her black and blue marks by pinching her. When she cried as a baby, he would put her in a cooler and close the lid for several minutes.
“He would make me wait a few minutes until I could go back and I’d open the cooler and she would just be gasping for air, drenched in sweat, bruises on her,” Alyssa said.
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Despite the abuse, Alyssa stayed with Steven and eventually the couple got married and had two more children.
In the summer of 2015, Katie, who’d been adopted by a couple in Wingdale, New York, tracked down Steven on social media. The following year, she met her biological parents and moved in with them, Alyssa told DailyMailTV.
Alyssa and Steven divorced in 2017, according to arrest warrants obtained by PEOPLE. After the divorce, Katie and Steven continued to live together in Virginia.
Katie and Steven illegally married in July 2017 and in September had a baby boy before moving from Virginia to North Carolina, where they lived publicly as husband and wife.
Katie and Steven were arrested in January but released on bond in February.
On April 12, police in Knightdale, North Carolina, found the couple’s baby dead in their home following a call from Steven’s mom requesting a welfare check on the child after Steven had behaved alarmingly on the phone.
Later that day, Steven drove to Connecticut and fatally shot Katie and her adoptive father, 56-year-old Anthony Fusco. He then drove across the New York border and fatally shot himself.
“It’s been a difficult rollercoaster of emotions because I’m so devastated by the loss of Katie and her adoptive dad and baby,” Alyssa told the DailyMailTV. “But it’s such a relief that I don’t have to look over my shoulder anymore to see if Steve is there.”
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