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Case Blog – True Crime: The Tragic Story of Stephen and Katie Pladl

In the world of true crime, few cases are as disturbing and tragic as that of Stephen and Katie Pladl. Their story is one that highlights the complexity of human relationships, the devastating impact of mental illness, and the far-reaching consequences of unchecked desires.

Who Were Stephen and Katie Pladl?

Stephen Pladl was a former Marine who lived in Virginia with his wife, Alyssa, and their two children. In 2016, he connected with his biological daughter, Katie Pladl, on social media. Katie had been given up for adoption as an infant and was living in New York with her adoptive parents.

Despite the 18-year age difference between them, Stephen and Katie started a romantic relationship and eventually moved in together in 2017. They even had a child of their own, a son named Bennett. However, their relationship began to deteriorate, and they separated in November 2017.

What Happened to Stephen and Katie Pladl?

On April 12, 2018, Stephen Pladl drove to his ex-wife Alyssa’s home in Connecticut and shot her to death. He then drove to New York and fatally shot his biological daughter and their infant son before turning the gun on himself.

The police later found a series of disturbing writings by Stephen, in which he described his incestuous relationship with Katie and his plans to marry her after getting a divorce from Alyssa. In the notes, he also expressed his fear of being arrested for incest and his belief that he and Katie could be together as long as they didn’t have more children.

What Was the Reaction to the Pladl Case?

The Pladl case received widespread media attention, with many people expressing shock and horror at the events that transpired. The case also raised questions about the legal and ethical implications of biological relatives forming romantic relationships and having children.

The case highlighted the need for greater awareness of mental health issues and the importance of seeking help when needed. It also brought attention to the challenges faced by children who are adopted and the emotional complexities that can arise when they reconnect with their biological families.


The Pladl case is a tragic reminder of the devastating consequences of unchecked desires and the far-reaching impact of mental illness. It is a story that is sure to haunt those who hear it and serves as a cautionary tale for us all. As true crime continues to captivate audiences around the world, it is important to remember the human toll of these stories and to strive for greater understanding and empathy in our interactions with one another.

Learn More

To learn more about this case, you can review our sources and listen to our episode. Additionally, you can read the full episode script.

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